Key facts of the case:
Appeal – Agreements, decisions and concerted practices – European markets for tin-based heat stabilisers and for heat stabilisers with epoxised soybean oil and esters as their base – Price fixing, market allocation and exchange of commercially sensitive information – Application of the ceiling of 10% of turnover to one of the entities forming the undertaking – Annulment of the decision amending the fine imposed in the initial infringement decision – Fines – Concept of an ‘undertaking’ – Joint and several liability for payment of the fine – Principle of equal treatment – Date on which the fine is payable in the event of amendment.
Outcome of the case:
On those grounds, the Court (Second Chamber) hereby:
58) As a preliminary point, it must be recalled that the principle of equal treatment is a general principle of EU law, enshrined in Articles 20 and 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. That principle requires that comparable situations must not be treated differently and that different situations must not be treated in the same way unless such treatment is objectively justified (judgment of 24 September 2020, Prysmian and Prysmian Cavi e Sistemi v Commission, C‑601/18 P, EU:C:2020:751, paragraph 101 and the case-law cited). The Commission is required to observe that principle when exercising its power under Article 23(2) of Regulation No 1/2003 to impose a fine on undertakings which have infringed the EU competition rules and determines the amount of the fine (see, to that effect, judgment of 26 November 2013, Kendrion v Commission, C‑50/12 P, EU:C:2013:771, paragraph 63 and the case-law cited).