According to official sources, two days ago, the German authorities launched an investigation against several manufacturers of steel because of doubts about the agreement and fixing the alloy surcharge.
According to the official announcement, the German Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartelamt), initiated an investigation against several manufacturers of special steel on suspicion of illegally fixing the amount of alloy surcharge. The Swiss-German company Schmolz + Bickenbach and Austrian group Voestalpine confirmed to the media that, among other company, they are also under investigation. A spokesman for the Federal Office Cartel Office confirmed that their inspectors are inspecting companies, branch offices and private homes.
According to unofficial information, the investigation is mostly turned to the company Deutsche Edelstahlwerke (within the Schmolz + Bickenbach Group). DEW reported they have been surprised by this investigation, however, they confirmed that it was taken seriously and they will cooperate with the authorities in order to terminate and resolve this situation as soon as possible.
The Austrian Voestalpine group reported that they their companies producing special steels are also under investigation. For now, they don't expect any major penalties. They expressed their willingness to fully cooperate with the authorities. As the investigation is still in progress, no further information could be presented.
Salzgitter released a statement in which its management claim to believe that the last investigation does not apply to them. Outokumpu also announced that there were no investigation at their offices and no one from the authorities had contacted them. "It seems that this applies only to carbon steel" - said their representative. Outokumpu produces stainless steel only.
German distrubutor of steel Klöckner & Co. also referred to the current investigation and confirmed that there was no inspection at their offices.