SKF Group says it has reached a settlement with the European Commission putting an end to the investigation regarding supply of bearings to the European automotive manufacturing industry.

The company has agreed to pay EUR315m (US$434m) with the settlement amount covered by the earlier-announced provision made by SKF already in its fourth quarter results 2013. 

“This is a very sad day indeed for all of us in the SKF Group and I deeply regret this has happened” said SKF president & CEO, Tom Johnstone.

“While we strongly believe no damage has been caused to our business partners, this conduct is in clear violation of our values and the SKF code of conduct.

“SKF has cooperated fully with the authorities during the investigation and at the same time we have significantly intensified our compliance and training programmes throughout the SKF Group. What happened was unacceptable and should never happen again.” 

The EC found two European companies (SKF and Schaeffler) and four Japanese companies (JTEKT, NSK, NFC and NTN with its French subsidiary NTN-SNR), operated a cartel in the market for automotive bearings and have imposed fines totalling nearly EUR953m.

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Brussels says the companies colluded to secretly coordinate their pricing strategy for more than seven years, from April, 2004 until July, 2011, in the whole European Economic Area (EEA)

SKF adds the settlement decision makes no finding SKF’s top management had involvement or knowledge in the conduct at issue.