EU truck cartel claim expected to exceed GBP 1bn

November 21, 2017

The overall value of the British Road Haulage Association’s (RHA) damages claim against firms involved in the EU truck cartel is expected to exceed GBP 1bn.

Steven Meyerhoff of Backhouse Jones said that since the claim was made public earlier this year “over 2,400 operators have signed up, representing an estimated 150,000 trucks sold or leased during the cartel period”.

The statement added that a further 650 operators “have registered their interest and are in the process of signing up”.

Meyerhoff said in September that the claim then had “sufficient numbers to trigger the application” to the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), where his firm intends to apply for a Collective Proceedings Order (CPO).

If the CPO is granted, it will be the first application to be granted under the new collective proceedings regime, which was introduced in October 2015, following rejected applications lodged by Pride Mobility Products and Mastercard.

David Went, competition law specialist at Exchange Chambers said: “Given that the claim will be on an opt-in basis, we do not envisage the proceedings being beset by the same difficulties encountered with the two previous failed attempts to obtain certification.”

The proposed action follows a July 2016 European Commission (EC) settlement decision fining Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco and DAF a total of EUR 2.92bn for fixing prices of medium and heavy trucks between 1997 and 2011. A fifth cartelist, MAN, received full immunity from fines for revealing the cartel.

EC officials found that the companies coordinated “gross list” prices which are set at factory level and used as a basis for pricing further down the supply chain.

Scania did not settle and was fined EUR 880m for its participation in the cartel. The Swedish truck maker quickly announced its intention to appeal the decision “in its entirety”.

Backhouse Jones will also be assisted by a team from solicitors Addleshaw Goddard, led by Mark Molyneux, the firm’s head of competition in London, and partner Bruce Kilpatrick. The counsel team includes competition law barristers Went and James Flynn QC, the latter of Brick Court Chambers, together with Mark Cawson QC and Stephen Connolly also from Exchange Chambers.