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General Superintendence investigates abuse of dominant position in the stainless steel market

Anticompetitive conduct

Company will be notified to present defense
published: Jul 17, 2013 10:00 AM last modified: May 02, 2016 03:29 PM

General Superintendence investigates abuse of dominant position in the stainless steel market

The General Superintendence of the Administrative Council for Economic Defense - CADE started last Wednesday (17) an administrative proceeding (no. 08700.010789/2012-73) to investigate complaints against APERAM Inox South America S/A. The accusation indicates that the company could be taking advantage of their monopoly position in the manufacture of stainless steel in Brazil to hinder the imports and to discriminate against competing distributors.

The stainless steel is characterized for having greater resistance to corrosion and heat than common steels and is used in the manufacture of home appliances, kitchen appliances, automobiles, automotive parts, construction, manufacturing and various services such as city traffic signals.

The investigation started after the distributor Inox-Tech Comércio de Aços Inoxidáveis Ltda. and the National Union of Wiredrawing of Ferrous Metals - SICETEL presented a claim affirming that APERAM adopted discount and volume setting acquisition policies in order to hinder the import of stainless steel, its single competition source in the sector. Also, according to the complaints, APERAM might have discriminated against buyers by fixing different prices and conditions of commercial sale, by refusing sale, in the form of imposing unfair conditions to independent distributors, and by favoring distributors from their own economic group, the AMIB Services.

The practices in question, if proved, may characterize violations against the economic order according to Law 12.529/11.

With the initiation of administrative proceedings, APERAM will be notified to present its defense to the allegations. Upon completion of the investigation undertaken by CADE, the General Superintendence’s official opinion stated that there was an anticompetitive conduct and it submitted the case to be tried by aforementioned Tribunal.