Firms sue Air France-KLM for price fixing

Hundreds of European companies, led by Ericsson and Philips, are to sue Air France-KLM and Martinair for more than €500m for fixing freight prices, their lawyer said today.

'Today for the first time, cartel victims across Europe are standing up together and demanding refunds from cartelists,' said Peter Koutsoukis, the managing director of litigation company Claims Funding International.

Koutsoukis said over 300 companies from 11 EU member states were claimants in the case which he described as the 'largest cartel damages claim ever in continental Europe'.

'We are suing three cartel airlines liable for the damage caused by all of the cartel,' which he said involved 22 airlines that have pleaded guilty or have been convicted of price fixing by regulatory authorities.

The companies claim that they were overcharged about 10% on international air freight between 2000 and 2007 because of an illegal price-fixing agreement between airlines.

Koutsoukis said court papers would be signed on Air France-KLM and KLM's daughter company Martinair, all registered in the Netherlands, tomorrow.

Source: RTE Business