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Judge orders Dow Chemical to pay $1.2 billion for price-fixing

A federal jury found the company guilty of fixing urethane prices over a five-year period

A federal judge has ordered Dow Chemical Co. to pay $1.2 billion for fixing prices on the chemical urethane, upholding an earlier guilty verdict handed down by a federal jury earlier this year.

In 2005, more than 60 urethane purchasers accused Dow and fellow chemical companies Huntsman International, Lyondell Chemical Co., BASF SE and Bayer AG of fixing prices on the chemical over a five-year span beginning in 1999. Urethane is used to manufacture foam components in packaging, cars and furniture.

Dow’s codefendants all opted to settle, leaving the chemical company to fight the charges alone. That effort proved futile, however, when a federal jury found the company guilty and ordered it to pay $400 million in damages earlier this year.

U.S. District Judge John W. Lungstrum affirmed that verdict on Wednesday, rejecting Dow’s attempt to overturn the judgment. To make matters worse, the $400 million sum was tripled under U.S. antitrust law, bringing the total damage to $1.2 billion.

Dow has vowed to appeal Lungstrum’s decision, arguing that the formula and expert used to calculate the price-fixing was unreliable. "Dow looks forward to pursuing these and other grounds for reversal in its appeal," a Dow spokesman said in a news release, according to Thomson Reuters. "Dow has always denied plaintiffs' allegations of price fixing."

But the month hasn’t been all bad for Dow; the company recently received $2.2 billion from Kuwait’s state-run chemical company, which backed out of a joint plastics venture with Dow back in late 2008.

For more coverage of price-fixing schemes, see:

Toshiba will pay $87 million for price fixing

9th Circuit revives dairy farmers’ price-fixing suit

Retailers appeal $7.2 billion Visa/MasterCard settlement

Illinois sues Samsung, LG and other electronics companies for price-fixing

Two Japanese freight companies to pay $189 million for price-fixing

SuperConference Keynote Panel offers inside look at the story behind “The Informant”


Alanna Byrne

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