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Antitrust Actions

German Steel cartel (quarto plates) en

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On 12 December 2019, the German cartel authority imposed fines of EUR 646 million on several quarto plate manufacturers for exchanging information on and agreeing to certain price supplements and surcharges for quarto plates from mid-2002 until June 2016. If you either directly purchased quarto plates in Germany or indirectly a product or service using quarto plates between mid-2002 and June 2016, you may be entitled to claim damages from the cartel members.

antitrust-german-steel

Specifically, the fine concerns the following manufacturers of quarto plates: Ilsenburger Grobbleche GmbH (Salzgitter), thyssenkrupp Steel Europa AG, voestalpine Grobblech GmbH and Dillinger Hüttenwerke AG. Dillinger Hüttenwerke, which is also a party to the agreements, does not have to pay a fine under the leniency regime. However, the company is liable to pay damages to victims of the cartel.

Quarto plates are hot-rolled flat steel products that are particularly common in steel construction, bridge building, building construction, shipbuilding, boilers and pressure vessels, general mechanical engineering, wind tower and pipeline construction and in the offshore industry. The antitrust decision does not apply to stainless, acid and heat-resistant steels, tool and heat-treatable steels, or steels for offshore construction in accordance with DIN-EN 10225. It also does not apply to roll-bonded clad plates.

The price for quarto plates in Germany traditionally consists of a base price and various surcharges. The surcharges were levied for the fulfilment of certain quality characteristics such as the special strength or toughness of the sheets, but also for additional services such as ultrasonic testing. This was the aim of the agreement.
Not only the direct purchasers of quarto plates from the cartelist might have a damage claim but also purchasers of other products or services which use quarto plates. This is the case, when an indirect purchaser can pass-on the cartel related inflated purchase price to his own customers.

If you want to know whether you have been impacted by the cartel, please send us your purchase invoices for quarto plates. Based on the type of quarto plates you purchased, the time of the purchase and the identity of the seller, we will be able to determine if you can join a group action against the cartelists.

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Members of the Cartel

Ilsenburger Grobbleche GmbH (Salzgitter), thyssenkrupp Steel Europa AG, voestalpine Grobblech GmbH and Dillinger Hüttenwerke AG

Relevant period

mid 2002 –  June 2016

Contact person

✉️ Bruno Wagner

✉️ Jasmin Hansohm 

✉️ Felix von Zwehl

Further reading

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