Settlement Reached With U.S. Steel, ArcelorMittal in Price-Fixing Lawsuit

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More litigation has come to a close regarding an alleged price-fixing lawsuit involving major players in the steel industry.

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In 2008, Pennsylvania-based Standard Iron Works and 4 other companies filed a lawsuit alleging U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal conspired with 6 other domestic steel manufacturers “to manipulate the supply and price of steel products sold in the United States,” according to court documents. The plaintiffs alleged that, from April 1, 2005 to December 31, 2007, the 8 steelmakers “conspired to restrict their output, thereby increasing the prices they were able to charge for steel products.”

Litigation has been ongoing since, though 5 of the companies listed as defendants— Commercial Metals Company, AK Steel Holding Corporation, Gerdau Ameristeel Corporation, ArcelorMittal and U.S. Steel—settled earlier this year.

Their settlements, according to court documents, were recently approved in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division. Judge James B. Zagel issued final approval for ArcelorMittal and U.S. Steel on October 21 and AK Steel, Commercial Metals and Gerdau on October 23.

The class council’s motion for attorney fees and reimbursement of litigation expenses was also granted.

Throughout litigation, all of the settling defendants denied any wrongdoing as well as the allegations against them, though they claimed to have settled in order to avoid the cost of further litigation and trial.

The settlement amounts, which totaled $163.9 million, were made in accordance with the size of the companies and their output during the span of the alleged price-fixing.

On Thursday, November 20, the day’s biggest mover was the 3-month price of the US HRC futures contract, which saw a 0.3% decline to $629.00 per short ton. The US HRC futures contract spot price remained essentially flat at $634.00 per short ton.

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Chinese steel prices were flat for the day. The price of iron ore 58% fines from India hit a high price of CNY 840.00 ($137.27) and a low price of CNY 830.00 ($135.64) per dry metric ton. The price of Chinese HRC continues hovering around CNY 2,970 ($485.35) per metric ton for the fifth day in a row. The price of Chinese coking coal held steady at CNY 1,390 ($227.15) per metric ton.

For the fifth day in a row, the cash price of steel billet remained essentially flat on the LME at $465.00 per metric ton. The steel billet 3-month price saw little movement on the LME at $455.00 per metric ton.

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