Top Steelmakers Face Antitrust Probe

The Federal Anti-Monopoly Service said Thursday that it would investigate steelmakers including Severstal, the country's biggest, after oil companies complained about the prices paid for metal used in pipes.

Gazpromneft and Surgutneftegaz filed a complaint that steel prices will rise from April 1, the service said.

Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel, Novolipetsk Steel and Ural Steel, part of billionaire Alisher Usmanov's Metalloinvest Holding, are the other steelmakers that will be investigated, the regulator said.

The probe is "slightly negative" for the steelmakers, UniCredit Aton analysts said in a note Thursday. "Sales of materials used to make pipes for oil and gas industry do not represent a significant portion" of steelmakers' sales.

Spokespeople for Magnitogorsk, Severstal and Metaloinvest declined to comment. The watchdog plans to complete the investigation by May 1, Interfax reported.