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The CNMC initiates sanction proceedings against 14 steel companies in Spain

Christian Fernsby ▼ | July 31, 2020
The National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC) has initiated a sanction proceedings against 14 steel companies for restrictive competition practices.
ArcelorMittal burns
Spain   ArcelorMittal burns
Specifically, these practices consist of agreements for the exchange of commercially sensitive and strategic information between manufacturers and or marketers of carbon steel end products, related to both the purchase of ferrous scrap and the sale in Spain of end products of carbon steel carbon steel, especially long products.

Topics: Spain

In view of certain information related to possible anti competitive practices, between 27 and 29 November 2018 the shared headquarters of ArcelorMittal Spain Holding, SL was inspected. and its subsidiaries ArcelorMittal Madrid and ArcelorMittal Comercial Profiles Spain; the shared headquarters of Compañía Española de Lamination (CELSA) and its subsidiary Ferimet and the headquarters of Metalúrgica Galaica (Cegasa).

Subsequently, between March 3 and 5, 2020, the headquarters of Siderúrgica Sevillana and Sidenor Aceros Especiales were inspected and the aforementioned headquarters of Arcelormittal and Megasa were inspected again.

Based on the collected information, the Competition Directorate has initiated disciplinary proceedings against A rcelorMittal Spain Holding and its subsidiaries rcelorMittal Madrid, ArcelorMittal ArcelorMittal Commercial Profiles Spain and Spain ; Spanish Lamination Company (CELSA) and its subsidiary Ferimet; G roup Gallardo Balboa and its subsidiary AG Siderúrgica Balboa; M etalúrgica Galaica and its parent company Bipadosa as jointly responsible; Siderúrgica Sevillana and its parent company Riva Forni Elettrici, SPA, as jointly responsible person; and Sidenor Aceros Especiales and its parent company Clerbil as jointly responsible.

The reason is possible restrictive practices of competition in Spain, consisting of agreements to exchange information to determine the future price in the market for the purchase of iron scrap. As well as, information to fix the marketing prices of carbon steel end products, especially long products (steel profiles and corrugated steel, fundamentally).

Thus, a maximum period of 18 months begins for the investigation of the file and for its resolution by the CNMC, without the initiation of this file prejudging the final result of the investigation.

The investigation of cartels is one of the CNMC's priorities for action, given the special gravity of its consequences on consumers and on the proper functioning of markets. For this, the leniency program is available, among other instruments, which allows companies that are part of a cartel to benefit from exemption from the payment of the fine, as long as they provide evidence to enable the CNMC to detect it.

Furthermore, the prohibition of contracting with the Public Administrations, as established in article 72.5 of Law 9/2017, on Public Sector Contracts, would not apply if they were finally sanctioned.