Germany Fines Steelmakers 646 Million Euros for Price Fixing

(Bloomberg) -- Thyssenkrupp AG, Ilsenburger Grobblech GmbH and Voestalpine AG were fined 646 million euros ($719 million) in a settlement with Germany’s competition authority over price fixing in the steel industry.

The companies were fined, along with three unidentified people, for exchanging information and agreeing to surcharges on a kind of steel used in bridge building, ships and pipelines, according to a statement from the authority.

The illegal arrangement lasted from 2002 to 2016. Steelmaker Dillinger Hüttenwerke also participated in the agreement, but was granted immunity for being the first company to cooperate.

Austria’s Voestalpine said it will pay 65.5 million euros. Thyssenkrupp had set aside 370 million euros for the penalty, which will cover it, a spokesman said without elaborating. A spokesman for Ilsenburger’s parent Salzgitter confirmed the fine, but declined to comment on the size.

The companies admitted to the allegations brought by the Bundeskartellamt, the competition authority said.

The ruling comes less than a month after a similar settlement against Volkswagen AG, BMW AG and Daimler AG. The automakers were fined about 100 million euros for anti-competitive practices in buying steel between 2004 and 2013.

A year ago, Germany also fined a group including ArcelorMittal a total of 205 million euros for price fixing in the steel industry.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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