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Hyundai Steel, Dongkuk among 6 South Korean steel firms fined over price fixing

South Korea's six largest steel firms, including Hyundai Steel Co. and Dongkuk Steel Mill Co. Ltd., were slapped with a total fine of 119 billion South Korean won over charges of fixing the prices of steel reinforcement bars, The Korea Herald reported Sept. 9, citing the country's Fair Trade Commission.

Hyundai Steel and Dongkuk, which have a combined market share of around 60%, were fined 41 billion won and 30 billion won, respectively. Korea Iron & Steel Co. Ltd, Daehan Steel Co. Ltd., Hwanyoung Steel Ind. Co. Ltd. and YK Steel Corp. were also penalized.

The report said the agency plans to report the companies to prosecutors, except for YK Steel.

According to the report, the companies allegedly fixed prices by reducing discounts from May 2015 to December 2016, with their sales managers meeting around 30 times during that period.

The steel industry called the fine "unfair", as the government set up the meetings around 2011 and overlooked price decisions every quarter to avoid further dispute between construction companies and steel firms over price hikes.

As of Sept. 7, US$1 was equivalent to 1,124.04 South Korean won.