Autoliv to pay $65 million to settle U.S. antitrust suits

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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) -- Autoliv has reached three separate settlements in U.S. antitrust class action lawsuits and expects to incur $65 million in costs in the second quarter, the supplier said today.

The settlements are the latest result of long-running probes by antitrust enforcers in several countries into price fixing of more than 30 types of car parts, including seat belts, radiators, windshield wipers, air-conditioning systems, power window motors and power steering components.

The lawsuits were initiated by different U.S. purchasers of its safety systems.

The Swedish company, in a statement today, said it was not admitting any liability and is settling "to avoid the uncertainty, risk, expense and distraction of further class action litigation."

The settlements will release Autoliv from any claims and demands that could have been asserted.

In 2012, Autoliv agreed to pay a fine of $14.5 million in the price-fixing investigation, and pleaded guilty.

Other auto parts companies that the U.S. Antitrust Justice Department's Division has already settled with include Takata, Tokai Rika, TRW Deutschland Holding, Nippon Seiki, Furukawa Electric and Fujikura.

All told, 26 auto suppliers, most of them Japanese, have pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty to similar charges in the U.S., with fines and settlements totaling in $2.3 billion.

The U.S. Justice Department, as of May 22, said 35 supplier executives have been charged with price fixing. Twenty-four have pleaded guilty or have agreed to plead guilty, and 22 have been sentenced to 1-2 years in prison.

Automotive News contributed to this report.

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