ArcelorMittal South Africa begins paying fine for fixing steel prices

ArcelorMittal reached an agreement with South Africa’s Competition Commission to divide the first payment into three tranches of R100-million ($7.79 million) each. “The Commission has taken into account the company’s financial position, resulting from the tough trading conditions in the global and local steel industries,” ArcelorMittal said.

The company agreed last year to pay a record R1.5-billion ($116.85-million) fine in five annual instalments of no less than R300-million ($23.6 million) each. It has paid R100 million ($7.79-million) and will pay a second and third installment of that size on April 1 and July 1 before reverting to annual payments of at least R300-million, as agreed.

The Competition Commission also imposed a five year-long 10% cap on the company’s EBIT margin on domestic sales of flat steel products.

The steelmaker has had to cut jobs and restructure to stem losses and has called for emergency steel tariffs to be imposed to protect the local industry against cheap imports. The Competition Commission launched an investigation in 2008 after concerns were raised that steel mills had been charging import parity prices, or prices that consumers would pay if they imported steel, since 2002.

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