02 December 2008 | Jake Kanter
Dunlop Oil & Marine (DO&M), a British industrial hose manufacturer, will pay $4.54 million (£3 million) in fines for its part in a bid-rigging conspiracy.
The US District Court found DO&M had participated in discussions to rig bids, fix prices and allocate market shares of marine hose to competitors between 1999 and 2007. During that time the firm sold marine hoses, used to transfer oil between tankers and storage facilities, at non-competitive prices.
The company was involved in meetings with co-conspirators in the US where price-fixing and strategic bidding were discussed. According to the US Department of Justice (DoJ), it affected the price of "hundreds of millions of dollars" worth of marine hose and related products purchased worldwide.
A number of DO&M executives were found guilty of participating in the marine hose conspiracy last year, and have been heavily fined or given jail sentences. Italian company Manuli Rubber Industries agreed to pay a $2 million (£1.3 million) fine in July this year for its involvement in the cartel.
Deborah Garza, acting assistant attorney general in charge of the DoJ's Antitrust Division, said: "Ultimately US consumers were left holding the tab. The Antitrust Division will seek stiff penalties for those who participate in price-fixing conspiracies."
DO&M confirmed the plea and the fine, but declined to comment further.