The US Justice Department indicted one Bridgestone Corporation executive and two former officials for conspiring to fix the prices of certain automotive parts, reports Tire Review. Bridgestone itself agreed in February to plead guilty to price-fixing, paying a $425 million criminal fine. The case involves anti-vibration parts used in automotive suspension systems and engine mounts.
Earlier today, Bridgestone shared news that it has entered into a plea agreement with the US Department of Justice on antitrust activities and accepted a $425 million fine. But it omitted to mention that the amount to be paid is so large because this isn’t the first time Bridgestone has been found guilty of price-fixing in the United States. In a statement published yesterday, the Department of Justice confirmed that Bridgestone’s failure to disclose its participation when pleading guilty to other violations in October 2011 was a “factor in determining the $425 million fine.”
On 13 February, Bridgestone Corporation entered into a plea agreement with the US Department of Justice; this deal will see the company plead guilty to an antitrust conspiracy related to the sale of automotive anti-vibration rubber products. Bridgestone will also pay a US$425 million fine, and says it now intends to “take appropriate disciplinary action against certain responsible employees” in accordance with applicable corporate standards.
On 26 July, the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) review period for Apollo Tyres’ pending acquisition of Cooper Tire & Rubber expired with no action taken by the Federal Trade Commission or the Department of Justice in the US. In a statement issued on 2 August, Cooper Tire explained that the expiration of the HSR review period satisfies one of the conditions necessary for the acquisition transaction to close. Cooper and Apollo now expect that, subject to the remaining customary closing conditions, the transaction will be completed before the end of the year.
The joint venture lithium-ion battery systems company formed by Continental and Korea’s SK Innovation, SK Continental E-motion, officially commenced operations earlier this month after gaining approval from the relevant authorities. Continental reports that “all relevant authorities have given unrestricted approval to the antitrust application submitted by the two companies” and that all provisions of the agreement signed with SK Innovation on 23 July 2012 have come into force.
The acquisition of two businesses belonging to Solutia Inc. subsidiary Flexys is intended to strengthen the product portfolio chemical specialist Lanxess’ offers its customers from the tyre and rubber industries. Pending approval from the relevant antitrust authorities, the company will incorporate Flexsys’ primary accelerator business and Perkalink 900 anti-reversion agent into its Rubber Chemicals business unit. Lanxess has not disclosed any financial aspects of the acquisitions and reports that no Flexsys employees will be transferred to Lanxess.
Pirelli & C has sold its broadband business to Advanced Digital Broadcast Holdings (ADB), a company quoted on the Swiss stock exchange for 30 million euros. Analysts received the move as confirmation that the company is wholly dedicated to its tyre business after the separation of its real estate arm earlier this year. The deal was announced on 21 October hours after the company confirmed that Prelios (the new name for Pirelli RE) would make it stock market debut on 25 October.
Schaeffler Group is to re-submit its antitrust clearance application next week after European Union officials reportedly returned it requesting more information. According to a Bloomberg report, Schaeffler’s original 17 October draft needs to “clarify other matters.” Schaeffler spokesman, Detlef Sieverdingbeck dismissed media reports suggesting Schaeffler is procrastinating. “No one’s delaying anything, the matter’s proceeding in perfectly normal fashion,” he said.
The new owner of Continental AG, Schaeffler Group, has announced that it now holds a total of 90.19 per cent of the tyre and automotive system supplier. This figure includes the 82.41 per cent holding Schaeffler has gained at the end of the statutory additional acceptance period and the 7.78 per cent stake it already held. Reuters reported that Schaeffler had agreed last month to limit its stake in Continental to just under half and said it would sell excess shares back to banks for re-placement in the market.
Having attained the approval of antitrust authorities, Continental has completed the acquisition of all shares in the Finnish spikes manufacturer TIKKA Spikes Oy, along with its Russian subsidiary OOO TIKKA, based in St. Petersburg. Financial details of the takeover have yet to be released.
On 20 December the Brose Group agreed to buy Continental’s Electric Motor operations. The acquisition is subject to the approval of the antitrust authorities. “We decided to sell the former Siemens VDO Electric Motor Drives operations and Continental’s cooling fan business to the Brose Group because Brose’s excellent positioning in the market segment creates exceedingly good prospects for that business,” said Continental’s Executive Board Chairman, Manfred Wennemer. The news follows Continental’s acquisition of Siemens VDO and, according Wennemer.
According to media in South Africa, Tiger Automotive has declared that 64.5 per cent of shareholders had given a firm undertaking to vote in favour of the R1.05 billion (£76 million) offer made by Ethos Private Equity on December 12. To go ahead the transaction needs to approved by at least 75 per cent of shareholders and by antitrust authorities.
“TiAuto shareholders representing approximately 64.8 per cent of the shares eligible to vote at the scheme meeting have furnished irrevocable undertakings to vote in favour of the scheme,” Tiger Automotive said in a statement. The company added that it would not actively seek any rival offer while the Ethos offer remained on the table.
According to the US Department of Justice, charges were laid against an independent consultant and two executives from Grimsby based Dunlop Oil & Marine Ltd. on December 5. A one-count felony charge, resulting from the international marine hose price fixing cartel that operated until May 2007, was filed against: Peter Whittle, sole proprietor of PW Consulting (Oil & Marine) Ltd., Bryan Allison, managing director of Dunlop Oil & Marine Ltd., and David Brammar, Dunlop’s Oil & Marine’s sales and marketing director.
Continental AG will become the proud new owner of Siemens’ VDO automotive electronics unit after agreeing upon a deal worth 11.4 billion euros. The details of the sale were confirmed at a meeting of Siemens’ supervisory board on July 25. Following the sale, which must first be granted approval from the relevant antitrust authorities, Continental will become one of the world’s five largest automotive suppliers. Assuming no delays in antitrust clearance occur, the sale should be closed towards the end of this year’s fourth quarter. Integration will be concluded by the end of 2009.
The sale to Continental spells an end to the possibility of an IPO for the VDO unit as previously considered. At the same time as this deal was approved Siemens also announced its intention to purchase the US manufacturer of medical equipment Dade Behring for US$7 billion