Cartels in corrugated cardboard

Cartels in corrugated cardboard

By a decision of 17 July 2019, the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) concluded an investigation by establishing the existence of two separate restrictive agreements on competition implemented in the market for corrugated cardboard sheets and boxes.

ICA found that the main producers of corrugated cardboard sheets and boxes in Italy, together with the relevant trade association, agreed on sales prices, production levels,  customer allocation (non-aggression pacts) and common client supply (non-belligerence pacts).

The infringing conducts were carried out over a considerable period of time: the cartel in the sheets market lasted from 2004 to 2017, and the cartel in the boxes market from 2005 to 2017.

Given that the above-mentioned cartels were implemented in violation of Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), considering the gravity and duration of the infringement, the ICA imposed fines against the cartelists for a total amount of more than EUR 280 million.

The participation in the cartels of all the companies sanctioned by the ICA must be considered definitively established. In fact, the administrative courts, which decided the appeals filed by the sanctioned companies, confirmed the existence of the cartels and the Antitrust Authority’s measure, which was only reformed in terms of the quantification of the sanctions.


Those harmed by the anti-competitive agreements include:

1. purchasers of corrugated cardboard sheets (so-called ‘independent box producers’);

2. purchasers of corrugated cardboard boxes.


The most significant damages caused by the cartels to the different categories of injured parties are consequential damages, consisting of overcharging, loss of profit, consisting of lost sales, and margin squeeze.


Delex took on the defense of approximately 400 companies, box purchasers, representing a purchase volume of more than two billion euros of corrugated cardboard.

Delex’s Antitrust Law Team is working on the largest collective action ever brought in Italy in the field of private enforcement of antitrust law, with the support of a leading firm of economists, with the help of an innovative artificial intelligence software for the verification, organization and presentation in court of evidentiary documents, thanks to the partnership with a major international investment fund and the most important Italian book building company.


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