August 30, 2018 / 2:00 PM / in 2 months

Belgian ethanol firm Alcogroup contests EU antitrust charges

BRUSSELS, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Belgian ethanol producer Alcogroup on Thursday said it would fight EU antitrust charges, confirming it had received a charge sheet alleging it colluded to manipulate ethanol benchmarks.

The European Commission sent a statement of objections to the company and Spanish peer Abengoa in late July, two people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday, referring to EU documents which set out concerns about anti-competitive practices.

“The companies firmly contest the Commission’ allegations, both in fact and in law,” Alcogroup said in a statement, adding that it would “fully exercise their rights of defence in the ongoing investigation.”

The move by the EU executive followed a near three-year long investigation on concerns that the two and Swedish company Lantmannen may have colluded to manipulate ethanol benchmarks, which are published by energy and commodities information provider S&P Global Platts.

Lantmannen on Wednesday said it was in settlement talks without providing details. Sources however said the company has not received the EU charge sheet. Abengoa did not respond to a request for comment. (Reporting by Foo Yun Chee Editing by Alissa de Carbonnel)

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