Competition Bureau Canada

Competition Bureau Canada
Industry Canada

Industry Canada

May 12, 2005 16:57 ET

Mitsubishi Fined $1,000,000 for Aiding and Abetting Graphite Electrode Cartel

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - May 12, 2005) - The Competition Bureau announced today that Mitsubishi Corporation ("Mitsubishi") was convicted and fined $1 million by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for aiding and abetting the implementation in Canada of a foreign-directed conspiracy to fix the price of graphite electrodes.

"Cartels deny Canadians the benefit of honest marketplace competition," said Denyse MacKenzie, Senior Deputy Commissioner of Competition. "Anyone who helps to implement a price-fixing conspiracy risks heavy criminal penalties."

Between 1992 and 1997, members of the cartel agreed to fix the prices of graphite electrodes sold in Canada and around the world. A former Mitsubishi manager facilitated a number of conspiracy meetings by arranging transportation and acting as a translator for the cartel's members. During the conspiracy, Canadian prices for graphite electrodes used in steel production nearly doubled.

Tokyo-based Mitsubishi is the sixth party convicted in Canada in relation to the graphite electrodes cartel. During the period between February 1991 and January 1995, Mitsubishi was a part owner of the graphite electrode manufacturer UCAR International Inc. (now GrafTech International Ltd.) and also a trader of graphite electrodes elsewhere in the world. These products are used in the production of steel in electric arc furnaces and for steel refining in ladle furnaces.

The Canadian subsidiary of the U.S.-based UCAR International Inc, UCAR Inc., the German corporation SGL Carbon Aktiengesellschaft, and the Japanese company Tokai Carbon Co., Ltd. were fined a total of nearly $24 million for participating in the conspiracy. Two former executives of UCAR International also pleaded guilty and were fined a total of $120,000.

The Competition Bureau is an independent law enforcement agency that promotes and maintains fair competition so that all Canadians can benefit from competitive prices, product choice and quality service. It oversees the application of the Competition Act, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, the Textile Labelling Act and the Precious Metals Marking Act.

Contact Information

  • Media enquiries: Eric Glaude
    Communications Advisor
    Communications Branch
    (819) 953-9760
    or
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    Competition Bureau
    (819) 997-4282
    1-800-348-5358