US chipmaker Intel is demanding € 593 million in interest from the European Commission after the European Union Court (TIP) overturned a 12-year EU Commission antitrust fine of € 1.06 billion imposed on Intel.
The group had provisionally paid the fine and received it in February of this year. Now he is asking for default interest on the amount. The news agency Reuters reported on Monday. Europe’s highest court paved the way for such damages claims in a landmark ruling last year. This obliges the EU executive to pay default interest on fines repaid in canceled cartel proceedings. The judges explained that if interest is paid late, interest is also due.
Arguing with history
The dispute has a long history. In May 2009, the EU Commission imposed the then historically high fine of over one billion euros. The European Commission has accused Intel of giving discounts to computer manufacturers Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo to thwart its rival Advanced Micro Devices. In January, the EU court overturned Intel’s anti-competitive sanction after 12 years because the Commission had not properly investigated the company’s objections.
In the decision at the time, EU competition watchdogs did not sufficiently explain how Intel’s discounts for hardware manufacturers or resellers had a negative impact on competition, the Court of Justice said. Instead of merely assuming, the Commission should have demonstrated such effects (Case No. T-286 / 09P RENV, Intel Commission / EU). The commission reimbursed Intel a 1 billion fine after the court defeat. In early April, an EU spokesperson said the Commission had decided to appeal the ruling of the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
Intel caused a stir in the middle of the year when it announced the construction of a semiconductor factory in Magdeburg for 17 billion euros. For the so-called Megafab for the production of semiconductor components, the US chip maker will receive a grant of € 6.8 billion from the federal government and the EU. By the end of 2024, they will contribute around 40% to Intel’s new semiconductor plants in Magdeburg. One billion is already pending this year.