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EU regulators close Veolia, Suez price-fixing probe

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU competition regulators have ended a year-long investigation into French water and waste firms Veolia Environnement <VIE.PA> and Suez Environnement <SEVI.PA> over allegations that they had colluded with another firm and a trade body to fix prices.

Veolia said on Tuesday it had been told by the European Commission it would close the case, which began with raids on several companies in 2010, followed by a formal investigation which opened in January last year.

"After having investigated this matter on its own initiative in a very concentrated market the Commission did not find sufficient evidence. We have therefore decided to close the case," Commission spokesman Antoine Colombani said in an email.

He said the EU competition watchdog would continue to monitor the water and waste market.

Suez subsidiary Lyonnais des Eaux, water and sanitation firm SAUR and trade body Federation Professionnelle des Entreprises de l'Eau (FP2E) were also targeted in the investigation.

The Commission can fine companies up to 10 percent of their global revenues for breaching EU antitrust rules.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130423/eu-regulators-close-veolia-suez-price-fixing-probe