OTTAWA, November 9, 2007 -- The Competition Bureau announced today that SEC Carbon, Ltd. of Japan has pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy in the graphite electrodes market. The company has been fined $250,000 by the Federal Court of Canada.
Graphite electrodes are an essential component in the steel production process. Between 1992 and 1997 the world's major graphite electrode manufacturers, including SEC, agreed to fix prices and volumes sold in various markets, and to divide world markets. SEC supported this international conspiracy in Canada by not selling graphite electrodes to Canada during this period.
"This international price-fixing and market allocation conspiracy resulted in artificially high prices for graphite electrodes in our country to the detriment of the Canadian consumer and the Canadian economy," said Denyse MacKenzie, Senior Deputy Commissioner of Competition. "SEC's conviction for the crime of conspiracy demonstrates the resolve of the Competition Bureau to pursue foreign companies that participate in illegal agreements that harm the Canadian marketplace."
SEC is the eighth party to be convicted in Canada for participating in the graphite electrodes cartel as a result of an investigation by the Competition Bureau. Nippon Carbon Co., Ltd., UCAR Inc., SGL Carbon Aktiengesellschaft, Tokai Carbon Co., Ltd., Mitsubishi Corporation and two former UCAR International Inc. executives, Robert P. Krass and Robert J. Hart, were previously fined a total of nearly $25 million for their roles in this international conspiracy. SEC's conviction wraps up the Bureau's investigation.
The Competition Bureau is an independent law enforcement agency. We contribute to the prosperity of Canadians by protecting and promoting competitive markets and enabling informed consumer choice.
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