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High Court refuses $46m cartel fine appeal

Stuart Condie

A Japanese car parts company ordered to pay a record $46 million fine for colluding with a competitor has been denied leave to appeal.

The High Court has dismissed Yazaki Corporation's attempt to appeal against this year's Federal Court decision to increase its original penalty for coordinating quotes to supply wire harnesses for Toyota Camrys made in Australia.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission had appealed against the original $10 million fine on the grounds it was not big enough to deter future cartel conduct.

The $46 million represented the highest total penalties ever imposed under the 2010 Competition and Consumer Act.

ACCC chair Rod Sims on Friday said the scale of the punishment was crucial in clamping down on behaviour that undermined competition and increased prices for customers and taxpayers.

"Only substantial penalties for breaches of competition laws, such as these penalties imposed on Yazaki, send the message to large corporations that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable and against the law," Mr Sims said in a statement.

"Penalties imposed by the courts should be sufficiently large to act as a strong deterrent against anti-competitive conduct, particularly when this conduct is engaged in by large national and multinational corporations."

Yazaki supplied wire harnesses - electrical systems facilitating the distribution of power and signals - to the local car manufacturing industry through subsidiary Australian Arrow.