A US appeals court has upheld a $1.1 billion antitrust ruling against Dow Chemical that found the chemical giant conspired with competitors to fix prices in the polyurethane market.
The court of appeals in Denver, Colorado late Monday backed a jury's May judgment in a class-action suit which alleged that between 1999 and 2003 Dow, BASF, Huntsman International and Bayer rigged prices for polyurethane products, harming buyers.
Polyurethane is used in consumer and industrial components such as mattress foams, insulation and footwear.
The court cited evidence at trial that included an admission of a price-fixing conspiracy by a Dow official.
Another key witness, from Bayer, described "inappropriate" conversations with competitors and testified that he would take unusual steps to conceal talks, such as using pay phones or meeting with competitors at coffee shops or hotels, the ruling said.
Dow sharply criticized the judgment, saying the matter was "thoroughly investigated" by the Justice Department and did not result in US charges.
"Dow has always denied plaintiffs' allegations of price fixing and will continue to vigorously defend this litigation," the company said.
"Dow will seek further review of this decision, including, if necessary, an appeal to the United States Supreme Court."
Earlier BASF, Huntsman International and Bayer settled the accusations. BASF's settlement was $51 million, Huntsman paid $33 million, and Bayer $55 million.