Antitrust violation – Fines for steel producers

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Germany’s Bundeskartellamt has fined three steel producers and three people in positions of responsibility to the tune of some 646 million euros for illegal price rigging.

Price rigging hampers competition and is contrary to antitrust law, which is why the Bundeskartellamt has imposed fines totaling around 646 million euros on three steel producers and people in positions of responsibility. It announced on December 12, 2019 that the businesses in question had been coordinating price supplements and surcharges for quarto plates between 2002 and 2016. Another business had cooperated with the Bundeskartellamt and was granted immunity from fines.

The price of quarto plates in Germany is made up of an individually negotiated base price and various price supplements and surcharges for compliance with certain quality criteria. According to the Bundeskartellamt, the intention behind the arrangements was to limit negotiations with customers to base prices and prevent negotiations on price supplements and surcharges to the greatest extent possible.

Antitrust violations are by no means always as obvious as in the case of price rigging. We at MTR Rechtsanwälte note that even individual clauses in contracts may be anticompetitive and sanctioned accordingly. Lawyers with experience in the fields of antitrust and competition law can offer advice.

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