POSCO says still negotiating legal settlement with Nippon Steel

15 September 2015

POSCO said on Tuesday it was still negotiating a legal settlement with Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp after newspapers reported the South Korean steelmaker was in talks to pay its Japanese rival about 30 billion yen ($250 million) in damages for alleged corporate espionage.

Officials at POSCO and Nippon Steel said the lawsuits, filed in April 2012, were still proceeding. South Korea's Hankyoreh newspaper first reported the proposed settlement amount on Monday and Japan's Yomiuri daily said the companies could reach a deal as early as this month.

Nippon Steel is seeking about 100 billion yen in damages from POSCO, its Japan unit, and a former Nippon Steel engineer for allegedly acquiring steel-making technology illegally. Nippon Steel filed the lawsuits both in Japan and the United States. POSCO has denied the allegations.

Nippon Steel started investigating the case in 2008 after former POSCO employee Lee Seok Joo, who was sentenced for selling POSCO technology to a Chinese steelmaker, told the court the technology originally belonged to Nippon Steel.

Shares in POSCO were down 2.1 percent on Tuesday morning, while the broader KOSPI index was roughly flat. Nippon Steel shares were unchanged, while the Tokyo market was up 1.2 percent.