On December 12, 2019, the FCO imposed fines of €646 million on steel manufacturers Ilsenburger Grobblech GmbH, thyssenkrupp Steel Europe AG, voestalpine Grobblech GmbH and three individuals for price fixing.[1] A fourth manufacturer, Dillinger Hüttenwerke, was granted immunity from fines for cooperation under the leniency notice.

The FCO found that, from mid-2002 until August 2008, the four steel manufacturers agreed on supplements and surcharges on the base price for quarto plates that account for about 20-25% of their total price.[2] In the subsequent years, until June 2016, the companies continued to calculate these price components using uniform formulae or copied them from one another.

The FCO conducted dawn raids at the manufacturers’ German headquarters in summer 2017 as part of a wider investigation into cartels allegedly formed after the end of the European Coal and Steel Community in 2002. The three manufacturers reached a settlement with the FCO. Voestalpine also received a fine reduction by cooperating with the FCO.

[1]      FCO Press Release, December 12, 2019, available here.

[2]      Quarto plates are hot-rolled flat stainless steel products used inter alia in steel construction, bridge building, building construction, shipbuilding, general mechanical engineering, wind tower and pipeline construction.