A bearings importer has been hit with a AUS$2m (US$1.9m) fine after admitting inflating the prices of products.

The federal court on Friday found that, in 2008 and 2009, Koyo Australia acted on two separate cartel arrangements with two of its competitors – NSK Australia and Nachi Australia – to increase the price of ball and roller bearings to aftermarket customers.

The action was launched by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) which said Koyo had admitted to the cartel conduct and co-operated fully with the consumer watchdog’s investigation.

The court also made orders restraining Koyo Australia from engaging in similar cartel conduct for a period of three years and requiring it to implement a competition and consumer law compliance training programme.

The court heard that the bearings aftermarket in Australia was worth up to AUS$400m (US$386m) between 2007 and 2011 with Koyo accounting for between five to 10% of the Australian market over that period.

Senior executives from Koyo and several other bearing importers with small market shares met between three and four times a year at restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne to socialise and swap sales information, the court was told. At these meetings, the ACCC alleged the members of the cartel shared information about price increases.

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The ACCC has also launched a case against Australian Arrow, a subsidiary of the Yazaki group, which supplies wiring looms, for price fixing. This is still being heard in the federal court.

The ACCC alleges that Yazaki and an unnamed competitor agreed to fix the price of wiring looms supplied to Toyota Australia between 2003 and 2009 for use in the Camry.

Yazaki has a supplier history with Toyota Motor Corporation dating back decades and has also long supplied Toyota Australia with electrical parts.