Stora Enso Accused of Fixing Paper Prices; Company Denies Any Wrongdoing
By Marrecca Fiore
A federal grand jury in Connecticut has indicted magazine paper producer Stora Enso North America for allegedly participating in a price-fixing conspiracy involving the sale of magazine paper in the U.S. between August 2002 and June 2003. Stora Enso is the second-largest magazine paper producer in the world.
In a statement posted on its Web site Thursday, Stora Enso denied any wrongdoing and said it will enter a plea of not guilty when it appears before the court at the arraignment to respond to the indictment.
A news release from the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division says Stora Enso's U.S. division, based in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, 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; and Accepting payment for magazine papers sold at collusive and noncompetitive prices. The magazine paper was used by customers, such as Time, Reader's Digest, JCPenney and others, in the production of magazines, news weeklies, and high-volume catalogues, the justice department said.
According to Stora Enso's Web site, the company was first investigated by U.S. and European authorities in May 2004. The company has consistently maintained its innocence. In a statement, Stora Enso said it expects the trial to occur in 2007.