One of the world’s biggest truck manufacturers has been handed a €880m (£770m) fine by European regulators for involvement in a price-fixing cartel.
The European Competition Commission says Scania, which is based in Sweden, colluded with five other truck makers to agree the pricing of new vehicles.
The Commission said it reduced competition and could have kept prices artificially high.
The five other firms – MAN, Daimler, Iveco, Volvo/Renault and DAF – settled the case last year, getting a 10% cut in their fines in return for their cooperation.
But Scania refused to admit liability and rejected the settlement.
The company employs more than 45,000 people across 10 countries, including the UK, and supplies trucks to businesses around the world.
The Commission said the companies coordinated, between 1997 and 2011, to agree the price of trucks, the timing of when new emissions technologies should be introduced and the details of how the costs of those technologies would be passed on to customers.
Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s commissioner for competition, said the case had affected “very substantial numbers of road hauliers in Europe, since Scania and the other truck manufacturers in the cartel produce more than nine out of every 10 medium and heavy trucks sold in Europe”.
“These trucks account for around three quarters of inland transport of goods in Europe and play a vital role in the European economy,” she said.
“Instead of colluding on pricing, the truck manufacturers should have been competing against each other – also on environmental improvements.”
It is thought that a number of major companies in the UK are weighing whether to join a claim being brought by the Road Haulage Association (RHA), which could total almost £4bn.
Scania maintained its innocence and said it was likely to appeal against the regulator’s decision.