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LAVAL, Que. — Michelin Retread Technologies and Michelin North America, as part of an antitrust lawsuit versus Bandag, have now filed suit against Bridgestone/Firestone, as well.

Competitors in the U.S. retread market, Bridgestone/Firestone and Bandag have each developed proprietary retread systems that have been marketed to tire dealers.

In its court filing, Michelin is alleging that the two companies entered into an unlawful agreement to join forces and work to keep Michelin out of the retread market.

Michelin began offering its MRTI retreading system to U.S. dealers in 1997. It is claiming that Bridgestone/Firestone and Bandag have, among other things, illegally agreed to force dealers to avoid adopting the MRTI system.

“Because of Bridgestone/Firestone and Bandag’s action, commercial truck tire retreaders continue to be denied freedom of choice in selecting retreading systems and the benefits of competition,” says John Rice, chief operating officer for Michelin Americas Truck Tires. “Moreover, trucking fleets are denied the benefits of competition from competing retreading systems, including the benefits of retread tire innovations.”

Bridgestone/Firestone, in a statement, says it sees, “no basis whatsoever for Michelin’s claims.” Michelin began its court action against Bandag in November 1999, arguing that Bandag violated federal antitrust laws.

Michelin’s move followed a September 1999 suit, filed by Bandag, claiming that the Michelin attempted to force it out of business by obtaining trade secrets, spreading false rumors, and using predatory pricing.

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