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U.S. Steel to settle price-fixing lawsuit

Keywords: Tags  U.S. Steel, Mario Longhi, settlement, steel, antitrust lawsuit, Standard Iron Works, Eastern States Steel, ArcelorMittal John P. Surma

NEW YORK — U.S. Steel Corp. has agreed to pay $58 million to settle a 2008 lawsuit that alleged the company conspired with others to fix steel prices.

The Pittsburgh-based company will pay the amount into a settlement fund that now totals $163.9 million, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Illinois.

Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal SA recently agreed to pay $90 million to settle the same case (, June 13), the highest amount among those companies that have settled. West Chester, Ohio-based AK Steel Corp., Tampa, Fla.-based Gerdau Ameristeel Corp. and Irving, Texas-based Commercial Metals Co. (CMC) have agreed to pay a combined $15.9 million.

U.S. Steel, which declined to comment on the settlement, denied wrongdoing and the allegations of price fixing, according to court documents, but said it was settling the lawsuit to "avoid the cost and risk of continued litigation and trial."

U.S. Steel also has agreed to cooperate in providing information against the three remaining defendants in the case: Charlotte, N.C.-based Nucor Corp., Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Steel Dynamics Inc. and Lisle, Ill.-based SSAB Americas.

U.S. Steel will allow president and chief executive officer Mario Longhi and chairman David S. Sutherland to be interviewed about the case, according to the settlement. During the alleged price fixing from April 2005 to December 2007, Longhi was employed by Gerdau and Sutherland was employed by Ipsco Inc., now part of SSAB.

The final approval hearing for the Gerdau, CMC and AK Steel settlements is scheduled for July 10, while a hearing for the ArcelorMittal and U.S. Steel settlements is scheduled for Oct. 17.

The plaintiffs, which include Scranton, Pa.-based fabricator Standard Iron Works and Norristown, Pa.-based distributor Eastern States Steel Corp., alleged that eight companies conspired to restrict steel output and thereby raised prices for certain steel products.

A person familiar with the case told AMM earlier in June that the settlements represented "nuisance payments," which would close the case.

More than 5,000 companies or individuals could be eligible to claim compensation from the settlement fund if they bought steel during the 2005-07 period.

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