Vitamin makers challenge price-fixing decision

Related tags Supreme court of the united states United states Us

The US Supreme Court said yesterday it would hear an appeal by
Roche, BASF and other vitamin makers, challenging a previous ruling
that allowed foreign buyers to sue them in the US for their
activities abroad.

Five companies from Australia, Ecuador, Panama and Ukraine filed a lawsuit in 2000 claiming that multinational companies were involved in a cartel, fixing vitamin prices around the world.

The case was first dismissed for lack of jurisdiction but an appeals court ruled that foreign firms could bring a US antitrust claim as long as they can show the global cartel affected US commerce.

In July Australia's Federal Court also said it would proceed with a class action against multinational vitamin companies for price fixing during the 1990s.

Eight vitamin makers were already fined by the EU in 2001 for €855.2 million and they have also paid out $1.2 billion to settle price-fixing claims of US customers.

The case could have wide implications for foreign business as it will decide how far federal antitrust law can cover anticompetitive practices in foreign commerce.

The Supreme Court is due to hear the case next spring.

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