Belgian firm to sue cement makers in Germany

Belgian firm to sue cement makers in Germany
Published: 01 August 2005

A Belgian firm specialising in damages lawsuits plans to seek about Euro 140m compensation from cement makers Lafarge , Dyckerhoff and Readymix over alleged price-fixing. "We will submit the lawsuit next week to the Duesseldorf district court," Ulrich Classen, chief of Cartel Damage Claims, told Reuters on Friday, confirming a Financial Times Deutschland report.

Cartel Damage Claims (CDC) specialises in taking over possible damages claims from companies or individuals who do not have the resources to pursue them in court. Classen said CDC had bought such claims from 28 small and medium-sized German cement customers, who say they overpaid by Euro 14 per tonne of cement between 1993 and 2002, totalling more than Euro 100m plus around Euro 40m in interest.

A Dyckerhoff spokeswoman said: "We reckon the chance of success is low because there is no basis for the claim." She said prices in Germany during that period had been "clearly lower than the European average".

In April 2003, the German cartel agency fined six cement makers, including Lafarge, Dyckerhoff and Readymix, a total of Euro 660m for price-fixing. The spokeswoman said Dyckerhoff had appealed against the ruling and did not want to comment on the price-fixing matter before a verdict had been reached.