BRUSSELS (June 20)—The European Commission has fined Groupe Michelin's French arm $17 million for "abusing its dominant position in replacement tires for heavy vehicles in France" throughout most of the 1990s. The Commission concluded that Michelin´s complex system of quantitative rebates, bonuses and other commercial practices illegally tied dealers and foreclosed the French market to other tire manufacturers. The Commission said this is Michelin's second such infringement, the other being in The Netherlands in the early 1980s. "Dominant companies must be careful not to engage in practices that exclude other players from the market," Competition Commissioner Mario Monti said, in a prepared statement. "Rebates and bonuses are normal commercial practices but, as confirmed by the European court, some types are illegal when they are granted by a company in a dominant position and have an exclusionary effect." Michelin suspended the policies in question in 1999, the EC said. Michelin reportedly commands more than 50 percent of the French replacement market for truck tires, and even more of the market for retreads, the EC said. Michelin has two months to pay the fine or appeal the decision at the European Court of First Instance.
European Commission fines Michelin
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