German antitrust inquiry into steel eyes fines: Spiegel

© Reuters. German antitrust inquiry into steel eyes fines: Spiegel

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s competition regulator is in talks with the steel industry over fines of up to a total of 500 million euros ($583 million) after an investigation into a suspected violation of antitrust laws, Spiegel magazine reported on Saturday.

The competition regulator last year widened an inquiry, which already covered makers and sellers of stainless steel, car manufacturers and suppliers, with ArcelorMittal (AS:) and Salzgitter (DE:) confirming searches.

Without citing its sources, Spiegel said the investigation had reached a decisive phase, with the regulator now in talks with some of the around 12 companies involved over a possible settlement to avoid drawn-out court proceedings.

The magazine said it was still open how many companies might reach a deal, noting that

ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel producer which has said it was fully cooperating with the authorities, and Salzgitter, Germany’s second-largest steelmaker, were not immediately available for comment.

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