European Commission to fine SAS and other airlines in air-cargo investigation – SAS will appeal
· Today, the European Commission fined 11 airlines for breaching competition rules in the air-cargo area
· SAS Cargo and the SAS Group were fined EUR 70.2 M, or about SEK 660 M.
· Fines totaled EUR 800 M.
· SAS believes that it has not been involved in a global cartel and that therefore the fines are disproportionate
· SAS will appeal the decision.
Today, the European Commission reached a decision in the air-cargo investigation that began in December 2005. According to a press release from the Commission, a significant number of airlines have been fined for breaching the EU’s competition rules. The fines will be charged to SAS’ earnings for the third quarter of 2010, that will be presented tomorrow.
“We are highly disappointed and strongly contest the considerable level of the fines, which we believe to be disproportionate to SAS Cargo’s actions,” says Mats Lönnkvist, Chief Legal Officer at SAS. “We have cooperated fully with the European Commission during the entire investigation and, for slightly more than four years, we have disputed the European Commission’s view that SAS Cargo has been involved in a global cartel,” continued Mats Lönnkvist.
SAS will appeal the decision to the EU’s Court of First Instance, which may take several years.
“SAS takes competition rules with utmost seriousness and we do not accept any transgressions. We have a clear regulatory framework in place concerning compliance with competition legislation, which encompasses information, guidelines, training programs and control procedures,” says Mats Lönnkvist. “In conjunction with SAS’ independent internal investigations, it was unfortunately confirmed that SAS Cargo, in the period 1999-2006, had been involved in a few isolated cases that constituted violations of the company’s internal regulatory framework. This is unacceptable and the few SAS Cargo employees who were involved are no longer employed by SAS. However, we adamantly maintain that these isolated incidents do not mean that SAS Cargo has been involved in a global cartel,” concludes Mats Lönnkvist.
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The SAS Group’s Press duty telephone: +46 8 797 2944SAS discloses this information pursuant to the Swedish Securities Market Act and/or the Swedish Financial Instruments Trading Act. The information was provided for publication on November 9, 2010 at 5:55 p.m.CET.