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Compagnie Royale Asturienne Des Mines SA and Rheinzink GmbH v. Commission

1984 E.C.R. 1679 (1984)

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Compagnie Royale Asturienne Des Mines SA and Rheinzink GmbH v. Commission

European Union Court of Justice

1984 E.C.R. 1679 (1984)

Facts

Compagnie Royale Asturienne Des Mines SA (Asturienne) (defendant) and Rheinzink GmbH (Rheinzink) (defendant) produced rolled zinc products. Their prices in some countries, like Germany, were higher than in other countries, like Belgium. In 1976, both sold their products to a company in Belgium called Schiltz, which was supposed to import those products into Egypt. Instead, Schiltz relabeled the products and imported them into Germany, where they were resold at prices lower than other importers in Germany. Both Asturienne and Rheinzink stopped doing business with Schiltz in October 1976. On October 21, 1976, Asturienne suspended its deliveries to Schiltz, and Rheinzink accused Schiltz of improper importing to Germany. A few days later, Rheinzink informed Asturienne that it intended to decrease its prices in Germany. By the end of October, Rheinzink had also discontinued its deliveries to Schiltz. The European Commission (commission) (plaintiff) commenced proceedings against Asturienne and Rheinzink, inferring that because both companies had stopped doing business with Schiltz around the same time, they had worked together to prevent Schiltz’s parallel import of rolled zinc products to Germany. Asturienne presented evidence that it canceled its service with Schiltz due to late and missing payments, including for its last shipment made on the day it ceased operations. There was no evidence that Asturienne had changed its prices in Germany after Rheinzink’s notification. Despite these facts, the commission issued a decision finding that Asturienne and Rheinzink had engaged in concerted action to restrain trade in violation of European antitrust law. Asturienne and Rheinzink appealed to the European Union Court of Justice.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning

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