SAS Cargo admits violation of U.S competition laws
As earlier communicated in the annual and interim reports of SAS Group, the European Commission and the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) are conducting investigations of a number of parties in the air cargo industry, including the cargo business of SAS.SAS Cargo Group A/S, the cargo subsidiary of SAS Group, has reached a resolution with the DOJ in the ongoing investigation of anti-competitive activity in the air cargo business. SAS Cargo will enter a guilty plea, and under the terms of a plea agreement with DOJ, it will pay a fine of 52 MUSD. The guilty plea and fine relate to conduct during the period February 2002 through February 2006.
The fine amount was reduced to reflect the cooperation that SAS provided to DOJ in its investigation, and its acceptance of responsibility for the conduct at issue. The DOJ also recognized SAS’s commitment to an improved corporate compliance program, and SAS has already undertaken measures to strengthen its internal compliance policy. SAS will continue to cooperate with U.S. authorities in their continuing investigation of other air cargo carriers.
“Infringement of competition rules is and has always been entirely unacceptable and I condemn it unreservedly. SAS has, for many years, had a strict policy in place for compliance with competition rules as well as various control mechanisms. It is very unfortunate and a serious problem that our policies were not fully observed in this case” said SAS Group CEO and President Mats Jansson. Mr. Jansson further stated that SAS has reinforced its ongoing work on compliance with competition rules in all parts of the organization, through supplementary training for staff and the introduction of more control mechanisms.
The plea agreement concludes the investigation by DOJ into SAS’s cargo business. A separate investigation by the European Commission is underway, and SAS is cooperating in that investigation as well. The Commission issued a Statement of Objections on 20 December 2007 to a large number of air carriers, including SAS Cargo. In the Statement of Objections, the Commission alleges that certain investigated practices in the air cargo sector constituted infringements of EC competition rules. SAS Cargo has submitted its response. The Commission’s final decision in the European investigation is not expected until late in 2008. It is not possible at this time for SAS to predict the outcome, but taking the nature of the allegations into account, an adverse outcome is likely to have a substantial negative financial impact on SAS.
SAS Group Corporate Communications
For further information, please contact
Claus Sonberg, EVP Corporate Communications & Investor Relations, +46 8 7971660