EC drops antitrust investigation into ethanol firms
London, 18 April (Argus) — The European Commission (EC) says it has closed an antitrust investigation that involved unannounced inspections of premises of ethanol producers and trading companies in April 2015.
The investigation concerned EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices. Its closure does not prevent the EC from re-opening a case should it reassess its position, according to the EC spokesperson Lucia Caudet.
Caudet added the EC needed to "focus its limited resources on the cases that promise the greatest merit from a public enforcement perspective".
While the EC investigation does not name the companies involved, premises belonging to Spanish producer Abengoa — at the time owner of continental Europe's biggest ethanol plant — and French trading company Tereos were raided by antitrust regulators in April 2015.
The former producer is also being probed — as of December 2015 — as a part of a separate ongoing EC investigation into the potential manipulation ethanol benchmarks published by a price reporting agency.