VW, BMW and Mercedes-Benz All Under Investigation for Steel Purchasing Cartel

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Photo: Hessam Bakhtiarzadeh

Three major German automakers are being investigated by regulators for participating in a steel purchasing cartel. U.S. Shale firms increased their hedging this year to try to offset low oil prices.

VW, BMW, Mercedes Investigated

Volkswagen AG, BMW AG, Daimler AG (Mercedes-Benz) and Robert Bosch GmbH were among six companies raided by Germany’s antitrust regulator in June in a probe of steel purchasing by the auto industry.

Two-Month Trial: Metal Buying Outlook

There are indications that antitrust rules may have been violated, and the raids were conducted to investigate the facts, Kay Weidner, spokesman for the Federal Cartel Office, said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg News on Tuesday. He declined to identify any company.

BMW, VW, Daimler, Bosch and ZF Friedrichshafen AG confirmed that they were raided and said they are supporting the investigations.

Automakers are one the major pillars of the German economy, and steel is a key component for auto companies.

US Shale Firms Increased Hedging as Oil Prices Fell

As oil prices began recovering from 13-year lows early this year, U.S. shale producers ramped up their hedges against another slump on a scale unseen for at least a year, a Reuters analysis of company disclosures shows.

Free Download: The June 2016 MMI Report

A review of disclosures by the largest 30 U.S. shale firms showed 17 of them increased their hedge books in the first quarter, the most at least since early 2015.

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