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Court lowers fines for Dutch bike makers in competition case

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ROTTERDAM, The Netherlands – Yesterday the Rotterdam court ruled for lowered fines in the competition case against Dutch bike makers Accell Group, Gazelle and Giant. The Rotterdam court declared that a part of the three companies appeal to be well founded. The lowered fines means that the one for Gazelle came down from

ROTTERDAM, The Netherlands – Yesterday the Rotterdam court ruled for lowered fines in the competition case against Dutch bike makers Accell Group, Gazelle and Giant. The Rotterdam court declared that a part of the three companies appeal to be well founded.

The lowered fines means that the one for Gazelle came down from € 12.9 million to € 6.7 million; the fine for the Accell Group was lowered from € 11.5 million to € 4.6 million and the one for Giant from € 3.9 million to € 1.4 million.

In its ruling the court did find that in the bicycle season 2001 there had been an exchange of information on the pricing of bicycles, but found this less serious than the NMa. A spokeswoman of the Dutch competition Authority NMa claimed that the Rotterdam court ruling is not rejecting the evidence in this case and that the NMa will carefully study the Rotterdam court judgement.

However, René Takens, Chairman of the Executive Board of Accell Group said in a reaction: “The ruling of the court has in any case established that a number of inaccurate accusations made by the NMa have again been rejected. The only thing we were apparently unable to convince the court of is that there was no question of agreement on the prices in the 2001 bicycle season. Price increases in that year were simply the result of sharp rises in the cost prices of components. Given that bicycle manufacturers often buy these components from the same suppliers, bicycle collections are developed per season and that the summer ends at the same time for all manufacturers, new prices in our sector are simply applicable at the same moment. We still believe we did nothing wrong. There were no pricing agreements and we therefore still find a fine inappropriate.”

Accell Group is currently studying the court’s ruling and is considering an appeal in this case. The ruling will in any event have no impact on Accell’s business operations, says the company. Also Gazelle is eyeing the Rotterdam court ruling as a kind of half-time score and is looking for further appeal possibilities. At Giant nobody was available for further comments.

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