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South Korean 6 steel firms fined over rebar price fixing Korea Herald reported that South Korea’s six largest steel companies were fined a combined total of 119 billion won (USD 105 million) by the antitrust watchdog over charges of fixing the prices of steel reinforcement bars. According to the Fair Trade Commission, the six steel producers fixed prices by reducing discounts during the period from May 2015 to December 2016. The six local steel manufacturers included Hyundai Steel and Dongkuk Steel Mill, which were fined 41 billion won and 30 billion won, respectively. In addition, the FTC plans to report five of the six companies all except for YK Steel to prosecutors.According to the FTC, sales managers of the six companies met around 30 times during the 20-month period. After each meeting, the companies reduced discounts on the price of steel rebar. For instance, in May 2015, they set the discount limit at 80,000 won so that the distribution price of steel rebar would not fall below 520,000 won per metric ton. The following month, they also reduced discounts of 20,000 won from the previous month so that the price would not fall below 540,000 won per ton.The antitrust authority said the price fixing had affected the real market price and the companies had repeated the practice when the effects had weakened over time. A FTC spokesperson said that “Imposing strict sanctions on price fixing of steel rebar will boost competition in the material market.”Six steel companies Hyundai Steel, Dongkuk Steel Mill, Korea Iron & Steel, Daehan Steel, Hwanyoung Steel and YK Steel currently dominate the local steel rebar market with an around 81 percent share and combined sales of 5.2 trillion won. Among them, Hyundai Steel and Dongkuk Steel Mill lead the market with a 32.9 percent share and a 27 percent share respectively. The remaining four companies have an around 10 percent share each. Source-steelguru.com
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