ArcelorMittal SA paying first fine instalment in parts

It has reached an agreement with the Competition Commission to divide the first payment into three tranches of R100 million each.

Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - ArcelorMittal South Africa, which has agreed to pay a R1.5 billion fine for colluding to fix steel prices in five instalments, will be allowed to pay the first of those in three parts, the steelmaker said on Monday.

The company, majority-owned by ArcelorMittal, said it had reached an agreement with South Africa’s Competition Commission to divide the first payment into three tranches of R100 million each.

“The Commission has taken into account the company’s financial position, resulting from the tough trading conditions in the global and local steel industries,” ArcelorMittal said.

The steelmaker has had to cut jobs and restructure to stem losses and has called for emergency steel tariffs to be imposed to protect the local industry against cheap imports.

The company agreed last year to pay a record R1.5 billion fine in five annual instalments of no less than R300 million each.

It has paid R100 million and will pay a second and third instalment of that size on 1 April and 1 July, it said, before reverting to annual payments of at least R300 million, as agreed.

The Competition Commission also imposed a five-year-long 10% cap on the company’s EBIT margin on domestic sales of flat steel products.

It launched an investigation in 2008 after concerns were raised that steel mills had been charging import parity prices or prices that consumers would pay if they imported steel, since 2002.