Stora Enso, UPM and Metsäliitto deliberately violated Finnish competition law by exchanging information with each other on the price of timber, according to a report issued by the Finnish Competition Authority in January 2007.
The heads of forestry and regional directors of the companies maintained the cartel between 1997 and 2004. Jorma Saarimaa, regional head of UPM’s acquisition area in Southern Finland told the Competition Authority that “all regional managers of UPM-Kymmene, Stora Enso, and Metsäliitto who took part in a meeting on the matter, knew how illegal the discussions were. . . it was also made clear that no documents were to be made of the meeting”.
The Competition Authority began its investigations three years ago after being contacted by UPM. Stora Enso faces fines of €30 million and Metsäliitto €21 million. The whistleblower, UPM, will not be fined.
Between them, UPM, Stora Enso and Metsäliitto buy about 80 per cent of all Finnish timber.
In 2005, UPM was fined more than €56 million by the European Commission for playing a leading role in a price-fixing cartel in the manufacture of plastic industrial bags.