Europe's second-highest court postponed on Wednesday its judgment on an appeal against a 79 million euro ($106 million) fine levied on three European copper tube producers for participating in a cartel.

The Court of First Instance said in a statement that its decision, scheduled for Wednesday, had been moved to an undetermined later date. It gave no further details.

The European Commission in December 2003 fined Milan-listed KM Europa Metal (KME.MI: Quote) 39.81 million euros, Finnish Outokumpu (OUT1V.HE: Quote) 18.13 million euros and Germany's Wieland Werke 20.79 million respectively for their role in a cartel for copper tubes used in air-conditioning and refrigeration.

The companies -- which the EU's executive Commission said accounted for 75-85 percent of output in a market then worth about 290 million euros -- appealed against the decision. (Writing by Bate Felix, editing by Dale Hudson)

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