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Whirlpool, Tecumseh, and Others Face Compressor Industry Probe
Feb 20, 2009
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Appliance maker Whirlpool Corp., Tecumseh, and other companies have received subpoenas in a global investigation into possible price-fixing of compressors.

Whirlpool said it received a grand jury subpoena from the U.S. Department of Justice, as did Tecumseh Products Co.

"The Antitrust Division is investigating the possibility of anti-competitive practices in the compressor industry," a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Justice said. "We are coordinating with other foreign competition authorities."

Additionally, Brazil's federal police said in a statement it had served six search warrants in Sao Paulo and Santa Catarina states to gather evidence of an alleged cartel in cooling compressors. Nearly 60 federal police agents, Justice ministry antitrust officials and state prosecutors took part.

In a statement, Whirlpool said it "has a strong corporate code of conduct, which requires full compliance with all applicable antitrust and competition laws. It will cooperate fully with the investigations. To the Company's knowledge, there have been no charges filed against the company or any of its employees." It also noted that the European Commission said, "The fact that the Commission carries out such inspections does not mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behaviour; nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself."

Tecumseh Products said it will cooperate with the investigation as well, and it does not expect the inquiries to affect its operations or ability to compete in any material way.

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