JSW Steel fined Rs 1040 crore by US court on anti-trust law violation

1 December 2015

Adistrict court in the US has asked a JSW SteelBSE 2.84 % subsidiary to pay a $156 million (Rs 1,040 crore) fine, as it confirmed an earlier ruling by a jury in an antitrust case filed by a local Steel distributor.

MM Steel had sued its competing distributors and steel manufacturers, including JSW Steel, in 2012, claiming that its rivals had conspired to deprive it of supplies and that the manufacturers had knowingly joined the plot, the court document showed. MM pulled the shuttersdown on its business in 2013.

"We hold, among other things, that there was substantial evidence for the jury to conclude that JSW joined the conspiracy between the distributors," the court said in its order, which ET has seen. The other accused in the case either reached an out of court settlement or were let off due to lack of evidence during a six-week-long jury trial. JSW Steel didn't respond to an email sent on Monday evening seeking comment.

The court order is a blow to JSW Steel, which is hurt by increased competition from Chinese imports. The company scraped a profit of Rs 116.95 crore in the second quarter, after reporting a loss of Rs 106.81 crore in the previous three-month period. Sajjan Jindal's JSW Steel acquired three US pipe and plate mills from his elder brother Prithviraj Jindal for Rs 3,690 crore in 2007. That unit has weighed on JSW Steel's profitable business. The US unit reported an EBITDA loss of $3.1 million for the second quarter.