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Commission completes long running trans-Tasman cartel case

Commission completes long running trans-Tasman cartel case

Issued 8 April 2014

The Commerce Commission has completed its long running case involving the cardboard packaging cartel between Visy Board Pty Ltd (Visy) and Amcor Ltd with the final defendant, Mr James Hodgson, being ordered to pay a penalty of $60,000 and costs of $38,352 for his involvement.

The Commission said that Mr Hodgson, who had responsibility for Amcor’s New Zealand corrugated fibreboard packaging (CFP) operation, was instrumental in breaches of the Act arising from a tender for Fonterra’s business in 2004.

In her judgment Justice Courtney commented that Mr Hodgson played a major role in the cartel.

“It was Mr Hodgson who directed and facilitated the cooperation between Visy and Amcor in relation to the Fonterra tenders. Given Fonterra’s size and significance in the New Zealand dairy industry and its high use of CFP or cardboard, Mr Hodgson’s conduct ought to be regarded as serious.”

Mr Hodgson refused to cooperate with the Commission, and has taken no formal steps in the proceeding. The Commission sought judgment in his absence.

“This is another important victory for the Commission in its fight against cartels, and shows that we will take action against individuals involved in cartel conduct where we consider it appropriate to do so,” said Commerce Commission Chairman Dr Mark Berry.

The case follows earlier proceedings by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in which the Federal Court of Australia imposed a penalty of AU$36 million against Visy. Mr Hodgson was not a defendant in that proceeding.

Ends

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