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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

EC Fines Steel Firms

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- The European Commission on Wednesday fined eight European and Japanese steel companies a total of 99 million euros ($101.5 million), accusing them of operating a cartel in seamless steel tubes used in the oil and gas industries.

This was the first significant cartel decision by the European Union's competition watchdog in a year.

But the maximum individual fines of 13.5 million euros imposed on Germany's Mannesmannr?hren-Werke and Japan's Sumitomo Metal Industries, Nippon Steel Corp., Kawasaki Steel Corp. and NKK Corp. were modest compared with previous antitrust penalties in the EU and the United States.

The commission said in a statement the Mannesmann subsidiary, the four Japanese firms, British Steel, Vallourec of France and Italy's Dalmine had operated a market-sharing cartel between 1990 and 1995.