CHICAGO Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has been hit with yet another antitrust lawsuit alleging that the bank and its subsidiaries as well as the London Metal Exchange conspired to inflate aluminum prices, including Midwest premiums.
Garden City, Mich.-based International Extrusions Inc. alleges in the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Michigan that the defendants hoarded metal in Detroit-area warehouses, restraining aluminum supplies available to physical metal users.
The Aug. 16 complaint names New York-based Goldman Sachs Group, GS Power Holdings LLC, Metro International Trade Services LLC, London Metal Exchange Ltd. and 10 other defendants named as John Doe.
"We believe this suit is without merit and we intend to vigorously contest it. We also note that aluminum prices are down 40 percent from their peak in 2006," a Goldman spokesman said in an Aug. 19 e-mail to AMM, noting that the statement pertained to Goldman Sachs, GS Power Holdings and Metro International.
The LME and International Extrusions declined to comment.
International Extrusions alleged that Goldman, working with the LME, abused "monopoly" power over Detroit-area warehouses by amassing stockpiles of nearly 1.5 million tons of aluminum through "get paid more to do less" agreements and incentives of up to $250 per ton to put metal in sheds. That 1.5 million figure represents 27 percent of the 5.5 million tons of aluminum produced annually in the United States and triple U.S. imports of 500,000 tons per year, the company said.
Goldman and the LME also netted "hundreds of millions" of dollars in storage fees as "overbidding and diversion agreements" resulted in "substantially less aluminum available for sale in the United States" and wait times of up to 16 months for metal, International Extrusions alleged.
Similar complaints naming Goldman, other banks and trading companies, the LME or unnamed "John Does" have been filed by Gwinn, Mich.-based Superior Extrusion Inc. (amm.com, Aug. 2); Jacksonville, Fla.-based Master Screens Inc. and individual plaintiff Daniel Price Bart (amm.com, Aug. 7); South Elgin, Ill.-based Custom Aluminum Products Inc.; Reserve, La.-based River Parish Contractors Inc. (amm.com, Aug. 9); Lewisville, Texas-based Viva Railings LLCs and Howell, Mich.-based Regal Recycling Inc.; and Monticello, Ark.-based boat builder Team Ward Inc., which does business as War Eagle Boats (amm.com, Aug. 13).