Cartel Digest

Carbon Cathode Block

Carbon Cathode Block
  Overall Cartel Period 1996-1997
  Participants Anchor Industrial Products Inc.; Nippon Electrode Company Ltd.; VAW Carbon GmbH
  Total Fines (DOJ) $2 million
  Total Fines (EC) No fines imposed

In 2001 and 2002, three manufacturers pled guilty to U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) charges of conspiring with others to suppress and eliminate competition in the carbon cathode block industry.  In 2004, the Canadian Competition Bureau also imposed fines on two of the three manufacturers in the DOJ case.  Carbon cathode block is commonly used in aluminum smelters or pots in the production of primary aluminum in the United States and elsewhere because of its superior conductivity properties. The United States and Canada are the world’s second and third largest producers of primary aluminum.  The enforcement agencies discovered that between 1996 and 1997 the manufacturers had engaged in a price-fixing conspiracy in contravention of competition laws. 

 

Enforcement Highlights:

  • The DOJ investigation resulted in $2 million in fines. 
Company Conspiracy Period Fine (USD) Plea Date No. of Excluded Individuals Plea Agreement
VAW Carbon GmbH 2/96-12/97 $1 million 05/10/2002 2 Plea Agreement
Nippon Electrode Company Ltd. 2/96-12/97 $500,000 05/08/2002 2 Plea Agreement
Anchor Industrial Products Inc. 2/96-12/97 $600,000 04/04/2001 N/A Plea Agreement
Canada
Company Fine Date
VAW Carbon GMBH $ 500,000 09/22/2004
Nippon Electrode Company Ltd. $ 230,000 11/09/2004