The European Commission said Wednesday it has fined seven companies, including Japan’s YKK group, a total of 328.6 million euro (about ¥53 billion) for price-fixing cartels in markets for fasteners and their attaching machines in Europe and around the world.

The executive body of the European Union imposed the largest individual fine of 150.3 million euro on YKK. This is the largest fine ever imposed by the commission on a Japanese company for forming a cartel.

The other fines in the case include 122.4 million euro for Britain’s Coasts group and 40.5 million euro for Germany’s Prym group.

The EC said it found four separate infringements in which these companies agreed on coordinated price increases, fixed minimum prices, allocated customers, shared markets and exchanged other commercially important and confidential information.

“It is unacceptable that the major fastening technology producers colluded for such a long time to maintain artificial price levels and to share customers and markets for products which are used every day by a lot of consumers,” said Neelie Kroes, the EU’s competition commissioner.

YKK said in a statement, “We will comment as early as possible after examining the contents of the EU action.”

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