ACCC v Yazaki Corporation (No 3) [2017] FCA 465: Toyota Supplier Fined for Collusion

Tuesday 16 May 2017 @ 9.16 a.m. | Legal Research | Trade & Commerce

In the case of ACCC v Yazaki Corporation (No 3) [2017] FCA 465 (9 May 2017), the Federal Court has imposed penalties against Japanese company, Yazaki Corporation (Yazaki), for engaging in collusive conduct with a competitor when supplying wire harnesses to Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) in Australia.

It is alleged that ss 45(2), 76(1A)(b), 76(3) and 76(5) of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (the Act) were contravened.

Background to the Decision

In 2015, the Court found that Yazaki and its competitor, Sumitomo Electric Industries (SEI), coordinated quotes to Toyota for the supply of wire harnesses used in the manufacture of the Toyota Camry in Australia.

The agreement with wire and cable manufacturer SEI — which was given immunity in a deal with prosecutors — and the submission of the prices to Toyota, breached Federal and Victorian consumer laws.

The Judgment

In imposing penalties of $9.5 million, Besanko J stated that at [para 54]:

“… Yazaki’s conduct bore upon substantial financial transactions between substantial corporations in Australia, one of which provided goods to members of the Australian public …”

His Honour also noted the seriousness of Yazaki’s conduct, stating at [para 88]:

“… The conduct was deliberate, sophisticated and devious. It included the manipulation of the prices and the components of the prices so as to avoid arousing suspicion …”

The ACCC’s reaction

The ACCC, which took Yazaki to court, said the fine was inadequate. ACCC Acting Chair Delia Rickard said in a recent ACCC Media Release:

“The ACCC had submitted that significantly higher penalties were appropriate in this case having regard to the seriousness of the conduct, together with Yazaki’s size and substantial turnover related to its Australian operations. It is important that penalties imposed for anti-competitive conduct act as a sufficient deterrent to contravening Australia’s competition laws. In that context, the ACCC will carefully consider the judgment.”

Yazaki was also ordered to pay 85 percent of the ACCC’s costs.

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ACCC v Yazaki Corporation (No 3) [2017] FCA 465 (9 May 2017)

Toyota supplier fined $10 million for rip-off scheme –

Penalties ordered against Yazaki for collusive conduct – ACCC Release MR 64/17

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