German Cartel Office Fines Steel Firms over Rail Deals

The companies fined include subsidiaries of ThyssenKrupp, Vossloh and Voestalpine.

German anti-trust authorities said on July 5 that they had fined companies involved in a rail cartel investigation including industrial giant ThyssenKrupp (IW1000/62) nearly 125 million euros ($156 million).

The fines relate to an ongoing probe into whether manufacturers made cartel agreements on the supply of rail to Germany's Deutsche Bahn, to the detriment of the railway company, the federal cartel office said. They may be appealed.

The companies fined include subsidiaries of ThyssenKrupp with 103 million euros (US$127 million), of Vossloh with 13 million euros (US$16 million) and of Austrian steelmaker Voestalpine with 8.5 million euros (US$11 million).

Deutsche Bahn estimates it incurred losses of hundreds of millions of euros.

The members of the cartel "observed order quotas, divided up orders among themselves and fixed prices to manipulate the bidding," cartel office president Andreas Mundt said.

ThyssenKrupp said it would accept the fine to settle this part of the case, and that investigations are still underway regarding two other product areas.

The company has made a provision of 30 million euros (US$37 million) for the remainder of the probe, it said.

The cartel office said it would expand the investigation to other areas, including the supply of rail to regional and local railways.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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