8 Jul 2010 17:46

Regulator opens case against Evraz, Raspadskaya, Severstal over coal prices

MOSCOW. July 8 (Interfax) - The Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has opened a case against LLC EvrazHolding, CJSC Raspadskaya Coal Company and OJSC Severstal over signs they are abusing their commanding position in the coal market, the FAS said.

The companies are suspected of setting differing contract prices for coking coal concentrates supplied to Russian and foreign customers "by economic, technological or other means without justification," the FAS says, adding that the difference in prices did not depend on the volume of supplies or transport costs.

The FAS suspects the companies are discriminating against Russian consumers in favor of foreign consumers.

The case follows an analysis of the coking coal market, conducted by the FAS in January-March 2010.

The FAS has been probing prices throughout the metallurgical production cycle, starting with coking coal and iron ore and ending with finished roll, on the government's instructions.

The FAS opened a case against EvrazHolding and another Evraz Group member, Nizhny Tagil Iron & Steel Works , at the end of May for violating pricing conduct in the market for long steel products at the beginning of the year. That probe followed a complaint by Nizhny Tagil-based rail car manufacturer Uralvagonzavod, which asked the government to help promote "price stabilization in the metallurgical industry" and complained that the steel producers were not fixing prices even on a quarterly basis.

The FAS is also continuing a probe at Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works (MMK) , Severstal , Novolipetsk Steel (NLMK) and Mechel .