Stora Enso North America Indicted in Price-Fixing Scheme

Dec. 14, 2006 - The U.S. Department of Justice late yesterday said that a federal grand jury in Connecticut has indicted Stora Enso North America Corporation (SENA) for allegedly participating in a price-fixing conspiracy involving the sale of magazine papers

SENA is the U.S.-based subsidiary of Stora Enso Oyj of Helsinki, Finland, the second largest magazine paper producer in the world

According to the USDOJ, this is the first charge filed as a result of an ongoing investigation into price fixing in the magazine paper industry.

Stora Enso confirmed notification of the indictment, but denies any wrongdoing. The company said it will enter a plea of not quilty.

No Stora Enso employee was charged individually, the company said.

In the indictment, the grand jury charged SENA with conspiring to fix the price at which certain brand name, coated publication papers were sold to customers throughout the United States from approximately Aug. 2002 through June 2003.

The USDOJ said SENA is charged with carrying out the conspiracy by:

  • Meeting and communicating with a competitor regarding the prices for magazine papers in the United States
  • Agreeing during those communications and meetings to increase the prices of magazine papers sold in the U.S.
  • Issuing price announcements for magazine papers in accordance with the agreement reached
  • Selling magazine papers to customers located throughout the U.S. at collusive and noncompetitive prices
  • Accepting payment for magazine papers sold at collusive and noncompetitive prices

SENA is charged with price-fixing in violation of the Sherman Act, which for violations occurring before June 22, 2004, carry a maximum fine of $10 million for companies, the USDOJ said.

The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine, the Justice Department added.

Stora Enso said it expects the trial to begin sometime in 2007.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice and Stora Enso Oyj

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