EU hits Italian energy group with antitrust charges

Time of article published Mar 19, 2009

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Brussels - The European Commission said on Thursday it had lodged formal antitrust charges against Italian energy group ENI, alleging that it conspired to keep competitors from using its gas pipelines.

Europe's top competition watchdog filed the charges earlier in March, alleging the company sought to restrict access to its gas transmission pipelines and underinvested in the network to keep potential rivals at bay.

The charge-sheet "indicates that these practices may have weakened competitors on the market, and harmed customers in Italy," the commission said.

The commission launched initial antitrust proceedings against ENI in May 2007 acting on information obtained during raids on the company's offices the previous year.

The commission said that the legal action targetted the pipeline network delivering gas from Austria and Germany to Italy. - AFP

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