23 Apr 2024 11:07

Settlement on steelmakers case does not cancel fines, but they will be "reasonable" - Russian Trade Minister

TASHKENT. April 23 (Interfax) - A settlement on the antitrust case against Russian steelmakers will not cancel fines, but their size will probably be adjusted, Deputy Industry and Trade Minister Viktor Yevtukhov told reporters.

"As part of the amicable settlement there will certainly be fines, but they will probably be reasonable and not be burdensome for companies," Yevtukhov said.

Steelmaker Severstal filed a motion in the Ninth Arbitration Court of Appeal this month to approve the settlement in the dispute with the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS). A court hearing is scheduled for April 23.

In February 2022, the regulator found Severstal and fellow steelmakers NLMK and Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works (MMK) to have violated antimonopoly legislation by setting and maintaining monopolistically high prices for hot-rolled flat steel products on the domestic market. Prices for hot-rolled steel rose faster than production costs.

Furthermore, the FAS found that the steelmakers' sales volumes on the domestic market did not increase, but profits tripled compared to 2019-2020 figures. The regulator imposed fines of 6.4 billion rubles for NLMK, 8 billion rubles for MMK and 8.7 billion rubles for Severstal.

All three companies challenged the regulator's decisions in court.

Commenting on the case of NLMK and MMK, Yevtukhov said the decision on the settlement will depend on the companies.

"The fact that antimonopoly legislation was violated was when prices surged for all types of metallurgical products. We warned them that this would end with problems and litigation with the Federal Antimonopoly Service. Now the companies have concluded that an agreement needs to be reached. And since legislation allows for amicable settlements, it's good that they found such possibilities," Yevtukhov said.