Highveld agrees to Competition Commission-proposed R1m penalty

30 November 2017

Embattled steel producer Evraz Highveld Steel has agreed to pay a R1-million administrative penalty for conduct allegedly amounting to price fixing and market allocation with ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA).

The Competition Commission on Wednesday said it had recommended the approval of the settlement agreement to the Competition Tribunal.

In terms of the consent agreement, Highveld admitted to providing monthly sales volumes of flat steel products to industry association, the South African Iron and Steel Institute (Saisi), which was used to exchange commercially sensitive information, such as sales volumes and prices.

Highveld, which is currently under business rescue, did not admit that its conduct constitutes a contravention of the Competition Act, despite the commission declaring violations of price fixing and market allocation.

This followed an April 2008 investigation against Highveld and AMSA, which found that, from 1999 to 2009, the parties had an understanding in which Highveld would “follow AMSA’s lead” on pricing in the flat steel market.

“The commission also found that AMSA and Highveld, through the Saisi export monitoring subcommittee, reached an understanding of volumes of flat steel products that each of them exported to different companies,” the commission said in a statement.

In November 2016, the tribunal confirmed a R1.5-billion settlement involving AMSA after the steel producer admitted to having been involved in the long steel and scrap metal cartels.

Further, AMSA committed to R4.6-billion capital expenditure over the next five years.

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