BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Commission announced Thursday that Commission officials performed unannounced inspections at several marine hose producers in France, Italy and the UK that it believes may have participated in a cartel.
The marine hoses transport crude oil and petroleum products.
The Commission is investigating whether the companies violated Article 81 of the EC Treaty, which prohibits price fixing.
The investigation is being coordinated with the U.S. Dept of Justice, the Commission said in a statement.
Surprise inspections are a preliminary step and the inspections themselves do not imply that companies are guilty of price fixing, the Commission added.
There is no deadline for the completion of the investigation.