Japanese investigators raid car carriers' offices

car carrierSEPTEMBER 6, 2012 — Wilhelm Wilhelmsen said today that at 11.00 this morning Japan time, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics' and EUKOR Car Carriers' offices in Tokyo were visited by the Japan Fair Trade Commission as part of an investigation related to the Japan Anti Monopoly Act.

The two companies, in which Wilh. Wilhelmsen ASA owns 50 percent and 40 percent respectively, are co-operating fully with the investigators.

Japanese broadcaster NHK reports that the Fair Trade Commission, Japan's anti-trust watchdog, is investigating more than 10 shipping companies on suspicion of forming a cartel to raise the prices of sending cars overseas. Companies under investigation include Japan's top three players in the car carrier market -- Nippon Yusen, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines and Kawasaki Kisen -- and foreign-based companies with offices in Japan.

Industry sources say the companies are alleged to have colluded on prices they charged auto exporters and distributed orders among themselves. Car carriers have been under continued pressure to cut prices by automakers whose profit margins have been shrinking since the 2008 global financial crisis.

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