On 23 December 2020, the German competition authority (“Bundeskartellamt”) announced that it had fined five aluminium forging companies a total of approximately EUR 175 million for engaging in illegal anticompetitive practices between April 2006 and April 2018.
The fines were imposed on German companies:
- OTTO FUCHS Beteiligungen KG,
- Leiber Group GmbH & Co KG,
- Strojmetal Aluminium Forging GmbH,
- Presswerk Krefeld GmbH & Co. KG, and
- Bharat Forge Aluminiumtechnik GmbH.
A sixth company, Hirschvogel Aluminium GmbH, had revealed the existence of the cartel to the competition authority which had triggered the investigation. No fine was imposed on this whistleblower in accordance with the leniency program.
The Bundeskartellamt has disclosed that these companies cooperated by attending meetings during which they coordinated their respective procurement costs and cost increases, which were then passed on to customers. Not all companies participated in the meetings throughout the whole 12-year period of the cartel.
Victims of the cartel include any companies which purchased the products in question during the cartel period, including automotive suppliers and manufacturers. But purchasers of forged aluminium are also active in other sectors. Although the cartel members are German, victims may be located outside Germany.
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