European Union regulators fined Scania 880 million euros ($1 billion) on Wednesday for taking part in a truckmakers cartel which has already cost four of its peers a combined 2.9 billion euro penalty.
While the fine "is slightly above expectations", the risk of hefty compensation awards in the future "seems remote as it'll be hard to prove the actual damage", Christian Ludwig, an analyst at Bankhaus Lampe in Germany, said in a phone interview.
The five other firms - MAN (Swiss: MAN.SW - news), Daimler (IOB: 0NXX.IL - news), Iveco, Volvo/Renault (LSE: 0NQF.L - news) and DAF - settled the case past year, getting a 10% cut in their fines in return for their cooperation.
This cartel affected very substantial numbers of road hauliers in Europe, since Scania and the other truck manufacturers in the cartel produce more than nine out of every 10 medium and heavy trucks sold in Europe. The financial burdens and management distraction are particularly unwelcome as the manufacturer seeks to navigate disruption from a shift to an era of self-driving electric cars.
Scania maintained its innocence and said it would likely appeal.
The Commission said road haulage was an essential part of the European transport sector, and its competitiveness depends on truck prices.
"Instead of colluding on pricing, the truck manufacturers should have been competing against each other - also on environmental improvements", Vestager said.
Scania chose not to cooperate with the Commission during the investigation.
"Our investigation found that the first meeting between senior managers of all six truck producers took place right here in Brussels, in January 1997". From 2004, the truckmakers' German units swapped information electronically.
DAF also had to pay 752.7 million euros previous year.
The infringement by the cartel lasted 14 years from 1997 until 2011 when the Commission carried out unannounced inspections of the firms.
For their part in the transgression, the EC fined Daimler just over €1 billion (A$1.5 billion), DAF €753 million (A$1.1 billion), Volvo/Renault €670 million (A$984 million), and Iveco €494 million (A$725 million).