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BlueScope Allegedly Tried To Rig Prices - Report

Steel News - Published on Fri, 20 Sep 2019

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WA reported that Australia’s largest steel company BlueScope in 2013 elevated Mr Jason Ellis, the son of former BHP chairman Mr Jerry Ellishim from a regional divisional manager in Thailand to one of the most senior positions in the company the general manager of sales and marketing. Within months of assuming his position, one that could have ultimately groomed him to lead the company, Ellis allegedly masterminded a plan to boost the company’s ailing profit. It was a plan which court documents now assert involved an attempt to engineer a cartel with several local and overseas competitors to raise the price of steel. The alleged price-fixing plan devised by Ellis took place in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. During this period, steel prices were severely depressed and were putting pressure on steel companies’ earnings.

Back in 2013-14 this was a AUD 2.8 billion market in Australia and one which was, and still is, vitally important to our infrastructure and construction markets.

The attempts to establish a cartel were intended to raise prices and remove effective price competition. The effect of which would be large-scale, serious and ongoing economic harm in the nation's steel industry, according to a court filing made by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and obtained by The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.

The filing details an elaborate web of meetings between Ellis (alongside a coterie of his colleagues) and 11 of BluesScope’s competitors held over a series of months, which traversed numerous states and spanned three countries.

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Posted By : Ratan Singh on Fri, 20 Sep 2019
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