SOME US$210 million in price-fixing fines in automobile shipping is expected to be awarded to Japan's NYK, "K" Line and Norway's Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL), Reuters reports.
The companies, together with MOL unit Nissan Motor Car Carrier, as well as Norway's Wallenius Wilhelmsen, said they have received a draft fine from Japan's Fair Trade Commission.
WWL faces a $33 million fine, one of its parent companies said. The three other companies declined to comment on the details of the draft order, but the total fine is said to be Japan's second highest for price fixing.
The four companies are alleged to have conspired to fix the prices of auto shipments from Japan to North America and Europe, a source said.
Regulators in the United States and Europe are also probing the case, a source said.
"We will carefully study this draft order and consider how to respond," NYK said in a statement.
Japan is likely to issue a final ruling by the end of March, the source with close knowledge of the matter said.
The four companies as well as Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) and EUKOR Car Carriers said they have been under investigation from the Japanese regulator.
MOL is expected to seek leniency in exchange for cooperation, Japanese media reported. EUKOR Car Carriers, held 40 per cent by WWL, has not been named in the draft orders, WWL said.
Source : HKSG.