Commission thinks cooperation may have been anti-competitive

The European commission has sent a ‘statement of objections’ to DuPont and Honeywell, the sole manufacturers of ultra-low global warming potential refrigerant HFO-1234yf (2,3,3,3-tetrafluoropropene), saying that its preliminary opinion in an ongoing investigation is that the two companies’ behaviour in collaborating to develop the product may have breached EU competition law.

The investigation arises from a complaint by Arkema, which argued that it owned proprietary technology to make HFO-1234yf but was blocked from commercialising it by Honeywell and DuPont’s US and European patents.

In response, DuPont’s president Thierry Vanlancker defended the companies’ actions, saying that the collaboration was the only way to bring the product to market in time to meet the EU’s regulatory demands for reducing emissions from vehicle air-conditioning units. ‘From the outset, the companies have marketed and sold the refrigerant separately and independently, as competitors,’ he added.