© HIPA (illustration purpose only) Business | April 08, 2019
BMW Group anticipates 'significant fine'
In connection with the ongoing antitrust proceedings, the EC informed the BMW Group about a “Statement of Objections”, which leads the auto maker to believe that it is probable that the EU Commission will issue a significant fine.
The EU Commission is investigating whether German automobile manufacturers cooperated in technical working groups to restrict competition in development and rollout of emission-reduction technologies. The BMW Group, as stated in a press release, will contest the EU Commission’s allegations with all legal means if necessary. The Statement of Objections leads the BMW Group to believe that it is probable (“more likely than not”) that the EU Commission will issue a significant fine. According to the International Financial Reporting Standards, this results in an obligation to recognise a provision. Therefore, following its review of the Statement of Objections, the BMW Group will recognise a provision, which is likely to exceed €1 billion. This effect will negatively impact the financial results in the first quarter of 2019. The company’s review of the Statement of Objections and the inspection of files will take some time. As a result, a final evaluation of the financial impact is currently not possible. Based on current knowledge, the Commission is specifically investigating whether German automobile manufacturers cooperated in technical working groups to restrict competition in development and rollout of emission-reduction technologies. From the BMW Group’s point of view, this situation cannot be compared with cartel investigations involving territorial and price agreements, for example. Fundamentally, the participating engineers from the manufacturers’ development departments were concerned with improving exhaust gas treatment technologies. Unlike cartel agreements, BMW Group argues, the whole industry was aware of these discussions – which did not involve any 'secret agreements' and did not intend any detriment to customers or suppliers.
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