Daimler's Spanish unit can be liable for cartel damages, EU court adviser says

BRUSSELS, April 15 (Reuters) - Daimler’s Spanish unit can be liable for damages sought by companies affected by the German carmaker’s role in a truck cartel sanctioned by EU antitrust regulators five years ago, an adviser to Europe’s top court said on Thursday.

The European Commission in 2016 handed out a then record 2.9 billion euros to the cartel which included Daimler, Swedish company Volvo, Iveco, which is part of Italian truck and tractor maker CNH Industrial, and DAF Trucks, owned by U.S. company Paccar.

“A national court can order a subsidiary company to pay compensation for the harm caused by the anti-competitive conduct of its parent company in a case where the Commission has imposed a fine solely on that parent company,” Giovanni Pitruzzella, advocate general at the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) said in a non-binding opinion.

“For that to be the case, the two companies must have operated on the market as a single undertaking and the subsidiary must have contributed to the achievement of the objective and the materialisation of the effects of that conduct,” he said. (Reporting by Foo Yun Chee)