The German Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt) has imposed fines totaling €175mn on five aluminum forging firms for engaging in cartelization of the domestic market.
According to a release by the agency, these firms, collectively called the “aluminum forging group” held 23 meetings between April 2006 and April 2018 to discuss how they could pass on the increasing costs of production to customers.
The companies involved – Otto Fuchs, Leiber Group, Strojmetal Aluminium Forging, Presswerk Krefeld, and Bharat Forge Aluminiumtechnik – met on a regular basis to discuss the rise in input costs and inflate customer prices to nullify them while agreeing to keep procurement costs higher than actual values, Bundeskartellamt noted.
The agency added that the companies would also discuss future gains from such an arrangement since suppliers to the end automotive industry were also part of the cartel.
Bundeskartellamt began an investigation into these companies in response to a leniency complaint filed by Hirschvogel Aluminium earlier this year. Later, Presswerk and Bharat Forge filed similar petitions and agreed to help Bundeskartellamt prove the offences.