South Korea: six cement producers fined

South Korea: six cement producers fined

Six local cement makers have been fined a combined KRW199.4bn (US$167.6m) for fixing the prices of cement products and divvying up the market by South Korea's antitrust watchdog, the Fair Trade Commission (FTC).

The charged companies are: Ssangyong Cement Industry Co, Tongyang Cement & Energy Corp, Hanil Cement Co, Sungshin Cement Co, Hyundai Cement Co and Asia Cement Co. These cement producers have allegedly colluded on cement prices by controlling output and market share in 2011, according to the FTC.

Ssangyong was set to take 22.9 per cent of the total market share, while Tongyang and Hanil were controlled 15.1 per cent and 14.9 per cent, respectively. Cement prices surged 43 per cent to KRW66,000/t in April, 2012 from KRW46,000/t in March 2011.

Industry leader Ssangyong was slapped with KRW87.6bn in fines, followed by Hanil with KRW44.6bn and Sungshin with KRW43.7bn. Tongyang was exempted from the penalty, as the cement maker has been under court receivership since October 2013.

The FTC said that it will strictly crack down on price-rigging practices in key industries to build a sound market order and fair competition. "Managers of the six companies had regular monthly meetings to oversee whether or not the members comply with the arranged shipments," claims the FTC.