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October 19, 2006, All Headline News (USA)

Bayer Has Agreed to Settle Price Fixing Case

Bayer AG agreed to pay $18 million to settle a price fixing scheme involving pumping up the price of plastic polymers. It was the second multi-million dollar settlement that Bayer has made this year.

Plastic polymers are used to make the foam rubber found in many consumer products.

This settlement, in the U.S. district court in Kansas City, was for polyester polyol based products. It came on the heels of a $55.3 million, in August in the same court, for conspiring to jack up prices of polyether polyol.

In addition to the settlements the judge required Bayer officials to cooperate in ongoing class action suits against other defendants. Those include Uniroyal Chemical Co. and Chemtura Corp., formerly known as CromptonCorp.

AP reported that court documents state that Bayer, Dow, BASF, Huntsman and Lyondell control all the markets and 75 percent of the manufacturing of polyether polyol. Polyurethane is mixed into other substances to make foam for such widely used products as furniture and automobile seats. Two years ago, federal authorities consolidated 16 cases, that had been filed across the country, against the polymer manufacturers. The cases had been brought by customers who complained that the companies had fixed the price urethane and urethane chemicals.

The problem caused one group to call for extreme measures.
In June a spokesman for a group called Coalition Against Bayer Danger (CBG) had called for jailing the executives responsible for rigging prices.
"We are talking about sums of several hundreds of millions in these cartel arrangements. It is unthinkable that decisions of this magnitude were taken without the knowledge of the Chairman. Only when the responsible directors fear custodial sentences can a deterrent effect be assumed", Philipp Mimkes of CBG said in June.
Linda Young

Strafanzeige gegen BAYER-Vorstand wegen illegaler Kartell-Absprachen