BRUSSELS, Belgium (Aug. 4, 2010)—The European Commission has confirmed that it has conducted unannounced inspections at a number of polyurethane foam companies as “a preliminary step into suspected anticompetitive practices,” the commission said in a statement.
“The European Commission can confirm that, starting on July 27, commission officials carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of companies active in the polyurethane foam sector in several member states,” the statement said. “The commission has reason to believe that the companies concerned may have violated European antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices.”
Commission officials were accompanied by their counterparts from the relevant national authorities, the statement said.
The commission said that the inspections do not mean that the companies raided are guilty of anticompetitive behavior, nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself.
No deadline to complete the inquiries into anticompetitive conduct has been set.
Belgian PU foam producer Recticel S.A. on Aug. 2 issued a statement that its offices had been raided as part of the probe.
“These inspections are part of an investigation covering the sector of polyurethane foam manufacturers,” Recticel said in the statement. “Commission representatives requested access to certain documents and information, which are being provided to them. Recticel is cooperating fully with the commission's investigation.”
The EC probe follows shortly after reports that FBI agents had performed similar raids looking into the pricing practices of U.S.-based PU foam makers.