Update on development of follow-on damages claims: 2000-2015

An update is now available on my January 2015 overview of the development of follow-on claims after European Commission cartel investigations!

(A scaleable version can be found here.)

In 2015, the Commission concluded four actions against horizontal agreements, imposing a total of 349m€ in fines.  The total is much lower than in the previous years. For example, in each of the years 2012-2014 fines were in excess of 1.6 billion €. In addition, the Commission handed down 14.9 million € in fines against a broker in the YIRD cartel. (In the figure, this has been added to the 2013 proceeding.)

Following appeals, the European Courts adjusted the fines in the CRT (2012), banana (North 2011 and South 2008), pre-stressing steel (2010), heat stabilisers (2009), and chloroprene rubber (2007) cartels. It remains to be seen what happens to the fine in the air freight cartel – for now the full amount of 790 m€ has been overturned by the General Court.

Companies again were active in claiming for damages in the UK. They lodged additional claims following the air freight and car class cartels and first claims were seen following the smartcard and power cable cartels. In addition, I added a claim from 2014 following from the refrigerator compressors cartel, which had been missing before. I could not identify any further follow-on claims from Commission cartel proceedings in any other European country.


Development of follow-on damages claims from 2000-2014

The following graph shows all horizontal agreements which have been fined by the European Commission between 2000 and 2014 as well as corresponding follow-on claims by European country:

(Click here for a scalable version of the graph.)

I collected the data on the cartel proceedings from the press releases of the European Commission.  Via a google search corresponding follow-on claims were matched. Due to the nature of such a search, the data on follow-on claims should be treated as indicative only.

The data shows that more follow-on claims have been lodged in the middle of the period compared to the early and later periods. In this period we also see a particularly high number of cases which were pursued in several countries. However, the more recent the period, the less accurately the data likely reflects the actual picture, as information on claims might not yet have surfaced or claims are still in preparation.

The data also show, that the UK, the Netherlands and Germany are the preferred jurisdiction to file a suit. 

Finally, the larger the fine, the more likely a follow-on-claim will be lodged.