July 8, 2009

GDF Suez says it will appeal fines

French energy giant GDF Suez said it would appeal a $770 million European Commission fine imposed for anti-competitive practices.

The commission fined GDF Suez and German energy firm E.On $770 each on Wednesday for a secret agreement made in 1975 in which they agreed not compete across national boundaries, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported Wednesday.

The collusion canceled their customers' chances of reduced prices that would have resulted in a competitive environment, the commission said.

Before the fine was levied GDF Suez Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gerard Mestrallet said the company would appeal any fine imposed.

While imposing the fines, the commission said the two companies maintained the market-sharing agreement after European gas markets were liberalised, and only abandoned it definitely in 2005.

The Commission has no alternative but to impose high fines, the EC said.