NERA Economist Provides Key Expert Analysis in Bord na Mona Horticulture Limited v British Polythene Industries Plc

10 December 2012

New York -- Dr Graeme Hunter, a Vice President in NERA Economic Consulting's Antitrust and Competition Practice, provided economic analysis on behalf of Irish Utility, Bord na Mona PLC (BnM), in a recent case involving price-fixing claims against an industrial bag manufacturer.

In 2005, the European Commission found that British Polythene Industries (BPI) and others participated in a cartel operating in the industrial bags sector during at least the period 1982 to 2002. BnM purchased industrial bags from BPI and others during the conspiracy. Spurred by the EC decision, BnM filed suit claiming that BPI and others charged BnM inflated prices for industrial plastic bags as a result of the cartel. BPI sought to have the case thrown out with a strikeout hearing.

In a decision on 28 November 2012, High Court of Justice Honorable Justice Julian Flaux rejected BPI's request to set aside BnM's price-fixing damage claims. Dr. Hunter submitted a preliminary analysis of BnM’s claims to the High Court for the proceedings. Judge Flaux repeatedly cited Dr. Hunter’s analysis in support of his decision. In one example, in agreeing with BnM that the evidence showed that BPI likely overcharged the claimant for plastic bags, Judge Flaux wrote “this case is supported by the expert evidence of Dr. Hunter.” In another, referring to a bidding episode analyzed by Dr. Hunter, Judge Flaux wrote, "The claimants' expert Dr. Hunter points out that this is consistent with the cartel practice described by the Commission of submitting 'sham' bids."

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