EU fines 3 battery recycling companies for forming cartel

The European Union has fined three battery recycling companies a combined $72 million for forming a cartel that artificially kept the purchasing price for used car batteries low.

EU Antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said Wednesday the companies were purposely "reducing competition in this essential link of the recycling chain."

The U.S. company Johnson Controls received full immunity because it revealed the cartel to the EU, but British firm Eco-Bat Technologies was ordered to pay 32.7 million euros and Recyclex from France 2.7 million euros. Campine of Belgium has to pay 8.1 million euros.

The EU recycles practically all of its car batteries. By keeping the purchasing price low, the companies hurt used battery sellers, mainly small and medium-sized companies.