Crompton Fined in Rubber Chemicals Case


The U.S. Department of Justice and Crompton Corp. announced Monday that the company has agreed to plead guilty to participating in an international conspiracy to fix prices in the rubber chemicals market. Observers said the activities in question did not appear to involve rubber process oils or products used in the lubricants industry.

Under the terms of a plea agreement, Crompton agreed to pay a $50 million fine and cooperate in the departments ongoing investigation. Neither the company nor the Justice Department identified Cromptons co-conspirators.

Crompton, which is based in Middlebury, Conn., declined to elaborate on its news release, which described the materials involved as chemicals used to improve the elasticity, strength and durability of rubber products, such as tires, outdoor furniture, hoses, belts and footwear. On its website, rubber chemicals are listed as part of Cromptons Uniroyal Chemical business, acquired in 1996.

The department said that between 1995 and 2001 Crompton and other rubber chemical producers held meetings during which they discussed prices of certain products, agreed to raise and maintain prices, and exchanged information about sales.

Crompton also agreed to plea guilty to lessening competition in Canada and to pay a $7 million fine in that country. The company remains a subject of a civil investigation by the European Commission.

Crompton’s Petroleum Additives Division supplies antioxidants, corrosion inhibitors, emulsifiers andother additives, plus synthetic lubricants and greases. Other divisions supply process oils, white oils and other refined products.

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