VIENNA—Semperit A.G. will appeal a partial judgment by the Austrian Cartel Court that could halt the company's exclusive distribution rights in Europe and Austria for gloves made by its joint venture in Thailand.
Siam Sempermed Corporation Ltd., the joint venture co-owned by Sri Trang Agro-Industry Public Co., said in a statement that the court ruled on July 27 that an exclusive distribution agreement between the JV and Semperit was “an infringement of competition law applicable in Austria and the EU.”
Semperit previously had filed claims against Sian Sempermed and Sri Trang Agro for breach of agreement, according to a Sri Trang Agro statement. It said one of the disputed issues was Semperit's right to distribute rubber examination gloves exclusively made by Siam Sempermed in Europe.
The court ruled the exclusive distribution rights pact was incompatible with provisions of EU competition law.
Semperit plans to appeal the decision before the Austrian Supreme Court “in order to defend its exclusive distribution rights that had been contractually agreed (to by) its Thai JV partners when the joint venture was established in 1989,” according to a Semperit statement.
In the company's view, it said, relevant contract clauses “constitute customary and legally uncritical agreements that are indispensable prerequisite for the establishment and functioning of such joint ventures outside Europe between European technology companies and non-European raw material suppliers.”
Thus far, the firm continued, there have been no public decisions made by a European competition authority or a court that prohibited sales of products in similar cases.
It also said the firm's JV partners had respected the selling arrangements for 25 years “before they violated their contractual obligations, following Semperit's commercial success in Europe,” and chose to run the business independently without Semperit.