LONDON Germanys Federal Cartel Office searched the offices of ThyssenKrupp AG and three other German steelmakers on allegations of anti-competitive agreements, the antitrust body and ThyssenKrupp confirmed Feb. 28.
ThyssenKrupp Steel Europes Duisburg offices, as well as companies in Baden-Württemberg, Bayern and Nordrhein-Westfalen, were searched on allegations related to sales of coil and semifinished product to Germanys automotive sector, the agency said.
The homes of some suspects were also searched by the cartel office and police. A total of 19 employees from the four steel groups were involved, the agency said.
ThyssenKrupp chief executive officer Heinrich Hiesinger denied any antitrust violations.
"ThyssenKrupp employs a zero-tolerance policy. If the allegations are substantiated in the investigations, we will take rigorous action," he said.
"We are in the process of implementing a full-scale change to the leadership culture at ThyssenKrupp. I take this very seriously. Anyone who doesnt cooperate has no business working for us," he added.
ThyssenKrupp previously dismissed three board members who allegedly were involved in a range of compliance cases, including faulty data in the Steel Americas project (amm.com, Dec. 5).
In January, Hiesinger said he still believed in the leadership of supervisory board chairman Gerhard Cromme despite recent mistakes made by the company.
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Steel First.