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Press releases 2002 -

Commercial vehicle component companies fined for price fixing

PN28/02     17 May 2002

Three firms have been fined a total of £33,737 for price fixing in respect of automatic slack adjusters, which are brake safety devices for buses, trailers and trucks.

The OFT uncovered price fixing agreements involving John Bruce (UK) Limited of Sheffield (the importer of automatic slack adjusters manufactured by Madras Engineering Industries Limited (MEI) in India) and its distributors Fleet Parts Limited of Warrington and EW (Holdings) Limited (trading as Truck and Trailer Components) of Cowley which is part of the Unipart Group:

  • John Bruce and Fleet Parts had an agreement to fix the selling prices to their customers of MEI automatic slack adjusters
  • John Bruce and Truck and Trailer Components had an agreement to maintain fixed prices for MEI automatic slack adjusters.

The agreements were found by the OFT to be anti-competitive, infringing Chapter l of the Competition Act 1998. OFT regards price fixing as a serious infringement.


1.  Powers under the Competition Act 1998
The Act gives the Director General powers to investigate suspected infringements of the Act's prohibitions:

  • the Chapter I prohibition prohibits agreements between undertakings, decisions by associations of undertakings or concerted practices which have the object or effect of preventing, restricting or distorting competition in the UK (or any part of it) and which may affect trade within the UK (or any part of it); and
  • the Chapter II prohibition prohibits conduct by one or more undertakings which amounts to the abuse of a dominant position in a market which may affect trade within the UK (or any part of it).

2. The Director General has the power to impose financial penalties under the Act and the approach he adopts is set out in the Director General of Fair Trading's Guidance as to the Appropriate Amount of a Penalty, OFT 423 March 2000.

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