Italian Council of State ruling: No cartel in Italian rebar market

Thursday, 23 January 2020 17:15:11 (GMT+3)   |   Brescia

No cartel was set up among Italian rebar producers, according to a decision announced yesterday, January 22, by Italy’s Council of State, putting an end to a story which started in 2011 and involved eight steel companies, namely, Alfa Acciai, Feralpi Siderurgica, Ferriera Valsabbia, Industrie Riunite Odolesi Iro, Ori Martin - Acciaieria e Ferriera di Brescia, Stefana, Riva Acciaio, and Ferriere Nord.

In 2017, the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) imposed a sanction of over €140 million on the mentioned companies, as they were charged of coordinating sales prices in the period from 2010 to 2016 in the national market. In June 2018, the appeals presented by the companies were accepted by the Regional Administrative Court of Lazio, dismantling the thesis of the AGCM, detecting "investigative deficiencies in the phase of assessment of the alleged violations". The AGCM then appealed to the Council of State, which yesterday published its decision.

"The Council of State has unequivocally ruled that the objections made by the Authority were based on evidence insufficient to prove any violation" said Feralpi, the first of the affected companies to make a statement.

Alessandro Banzato, president of Italian steel association Federacciai, expressed his satisfaction with the ruling of the Council of State, which, he said, validated "the real state of relations between steel companies and their customers, which are aimed, as is customary, at the most transparent interlocutory conduct with a view to facilitating negotiations."

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