Spain’s Comisión Nacional de Los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC), a competition authority, has launched an investigation against 14 steel companies for restrictive competition practices. The entities are accused of attempting to fix the pricing of ferrous scrap and finished steel products.
CNMC has 18 months to conclude the investigation and proceed with a resolution as anti-competitive agreements, or cartels, are viewed as injuring interim- and end-consumers.
In March 2020, several companies’ headquarters were inspected for relevant evidence. CNMC said it has initiated disciplinary proceedings based on preliminary evidence collected through these inspections. The 14 steel companies have allegedly operated under the agreement to exchange information to determine future prices on ferrous scrap as well as manage marketing prices of finished carbon steel products, especially, longs.
Some of the companies under investigation include ArcelorMittal Spain Holding with subsidiaries ArcelorMittal Madrid and ArcelorMittal Comercial Profiles Spain; Compañía Española de Lamination (CELSA) and its subsidiary Ferimet; Metalúrgica Galaica (Cegasa); Group Gallardo Balboa and its subsidiary AG Siderúrgica Balboa; Metalúrgica Galaica and its parent Bipadosa; Siderúrgica Sevillana and its parent Riva Forni Elettrici; and Sidenor Aceros Especiales and its parent Clerbil.
The CNMC offers a leniency program among other negotiating tools to allow companies under investigation to cooperate and benefit from an exemption of any resulting fines. The program was established to assist and expedite anti-competitive investigations.