French tyremaker Michelin has been fined E19.76 million (£11.93m) by the European Commission for alleged anti-competitive practices in its home market.
The EC said Michelin's complex system of quantitative rebates, bonuses and other commercial practices in use five years ago illegally tied dealers and foreclosed the French market to other tyre manufacturers.
Michelin no longer uses the discount system for which it was fined. It also claims the Commission's decision was based on an interpretation of the concept of misuse of dominant position “that has no equivalent in the markets dominated by our main competitors, namely the US and Japan”. The company has two months in which to appeal.
Competition commissioner Mario Monti said: “Rebates and bonuses are normal commercial practices but, as confirmed by the European Court, some types are illegal when they are granted by a company in a dominant position and have an exclusionary effect.”