THE WALL STREET JOURNAL/DOW JONES NEWSWIRES: Ballast Nedam: No Formal Charges In EU Cartel Probe: “Later Friday, Royal Dutch Shell said it hasn't received notification of any imminent charges. ‘We've been cooperating fully with the commission's inquiry, but we haven't received any notification of the decision it has made,’ a spokesman for the company told Dow Jones Newswires.” (ShellNews.net)
DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
Posted 16 October 15, 2004
BRUSSELS -- Dutch construction company Ballast Nedam NV (33654.AE) said Friday it hadn't received formal charges of price fixing from European Union regulators.
"We have had no official confirmation," said Adri van Kessel, a spokeswoman for Nieuwegein, Netherlands-based Ballast Nedam.
Media reports said regulators were ready to issue the charges against the builder, along with major oil giants such as Exxon Mobile Corp. (XOM), Royal Dutch Petrolum Co. (RD), Total SA (TOT) and BP PLC. (BP).
Regulators raided a number of unspecified companies two years ago to investigate the pricing of bitumen, an oil byproduct principally used in the production of asphalt.
At the time, the regulators said they were looking into price fixing in the Dutch, Belgian, Luxembourg and Spanish markets.
Regulators can impose fines of up to 10% of a company's most recent annual global sales. But being formally charged doesn't necessarily mean the companies will be found guilty or have to pay anything.
European Union probes can drag on for years while regulators gather evidence.
Later Friday, Royal Dutch Shell said it hasn't received notification of any imminent charges.
"We've been cooperating fully with the commission's inquiry, but we haven't received any notification of the decision it has made," a spokesman for the company told Dow Jones Newswires.
An ExxonMobil spokesman in the Netherlands said the company has responded to the Commission's questions about the matter but has not received any statement of objections.
BP could not be immediately reached for comment.
-By William Echikson, Dow Jones Newswires; 32-2-285-0134;
(Arien Stuyt and David Bogoslaw contributed to this story.)