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Pre-Stressing Steel

Related Lawyers: Laurent Geelhand, David Lawne, Brian A. Ratner
Related Practice Areas: Competition Litigation

In June 2010, the European Commission (“EC”) fined 36 producers of pre-stressing steel a total of €270 million for their participation in a cartel between 1984 and 2002 within the European Economic Area (“EEA”) except for Greece, Ireland and the UK.

The Cartel

Among those companies named in the EC decision as cartelists are Arcelor Mittal, Emesa-Trefileria SA, Global Steel Wire SA, Socitrel Sociedade Industrial De Trefilaria SA & Companhia Previdente, Voestalpine AG, Westfalische Drahtindustrie GmbH, Nedri Spanstaal BV, DWK Drahtwerk Koln GmbH, Saarstahl AG, Ovako Hjulsbro AB, Rautaruukki Oyj, Italcables S.p.A, Redaelli Tecna S.p.A, I.T.A.S - Industrias Trafileria Applicazioni Speciali S.p.A, Ori Martin SA and Emme Holding S.p.A. The cartelists engaged in fixing quotas, customer sharing, price fixing and exchanging sensitive commercial information relating to price, volume and customers at European, regional and national level.   The combined market share of the cartelists amounted to approximately 80% of the EEA pre-stressing steel market. 

Pre-stressing steel encompasses metal wires and strands made of wire rod.  Typically, pre-stressing steel is assimilated either as pre-stressed or post-tensioned in a concrete cast.  Pre-stressing steel can be found within piles, beams, railway sleepers, anchors, floors, and within structural engineering and subsequent underground engineering developments.  Additionally, it is also a major component of offshore oil rig platforms, loading docks, high-rise buildings and other large infrastructure projects. The EC noted that Italy was the country with the largest consumption (28%) of pre-stressing steel due to its topographic structure. Other large markets were Spain (16%), the Netherlands, France, Germany and Portugal (each approximately 8-10%). 

Our Actions

Hausfeld, alongside Dutch alliance law firm Boekel de Nerée, have brought proceedings in the Netherlands in December 2013. If your organisation purchased pre-stressing steel between 1984 and 2002, then it can recover damages from the members of the cartel.