February 14, 2020 / 1:04 PM / in 8 days

UPDATE 1-Brakes maker Haldex files complaint against Knorr-Bremse

(Adds comment from Knorr-Bremse)

STOCKHOLM, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Sweden’s Haldex has filed an antitrust complaint against top shareholder Knorr-Bremse, arguing the rival brake systems maker’s stake is hurting its ability to do business.

The complaint against its larger German rival was filed with the European Commission and the Brazilian Competition Authority, Haldex said late on Thursday.

“The shareholding of Knorr-Bremse in Haldex has made it more difficult for the company to operate and introduce innovative solutions,” Haldex Chairman Jorgen Durban said in a statement.

“This affects both Haldex’s appeal as an investment opportunity and Haldex’s relationship with its customers and ultimately consumers. We, therefore, believe that this situation distorts competition in the industry as a whole.”

Knorr-Bremse rejected the accusations, saying: “Haldex’s management has never informed us before of any of the concerns now raised ... nor yet sought personal contact with us in that respect,” Peter Laier, Knorr-Bremse’s board member, said in a statement.

He said Knorr-Bremse was not hindering Haldex’s competitive activities or the involvement of other Haldex shareholders.

A 2016 bidding war between Knorr-Bremse and auto supplier ZF Group left the pair as Haldex’s top shareholders.

ZF sold its stake in September and is in the process of buying U.S. firm Wabco, which dominates the commercial vehicle brakes market together with Knorr-Bremse. Haldex is a distant third. (Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom and Alexander Huebner; editing by Jason Neely and Michelle Martin)

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