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Competition Law

Analysis - debate - current awareness

23 NOV 2011

Pre-Stressing Steel Cartel: Summary Decision Published

On 19 November 2011, the Official Journal published a summary of a Commission Decision dated 30 June 2010. The Commission’s Decision related to the fining of 17 producers of pre-stressing steel totalling €518.5m. The fines were handed down to cartelists who engaged in price fixing, quota-fixing, client allocation and exchange of commercially sensitive information. The steel products were used with concrete on building sites to make foundations, balconies and bridges. See the following bullet points for a few highlights from the Commission’s Decision:

1.The cartel ran from 1984 (this writer being 3 years of age when the cartel began!) to 2002 (18 years) and covered almost every EU member states bar Ireland, the UK and Greece.
2.Drahtwerk Koln (DWK) received complete immunity from any fines whilst Arcelor-Mittal had its fine increased by 60% because it had previously been fined for prior cartel behaviour.
3.The Commission accepted applications from three companies that they were unable to pay the fines imposed. Thirteen ‘inability to pay’ applications had been received.  The fines of three companies were reduced by 25%, 50% and 75%.
4.Leniency applicants included Italcables/Antonini who received a 50% fine reduction, Nedria who received a 25% fine reduction  and Arcelor-Mittal and its subsidiaries who received a 20% fine reduction.

Daniel Geey

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