Cartel Digest

Isostatic Graphite

Isostatic Graphite
  Overall Cartel Period 1993-1998
  Participants Carbone of America Industries Corp.; Toyo Tanso USA Inc.; SGL Carbon AG; Le Carbone-Lorraine SA; Ibiden Co., Ltd.; Tokai Carbon Co., Ltd.; Toyo Tanso Co., Ltd.; GrafTech International, Ltd.; NSCC Techno Carbon Co., Ltd. and Nippon Steel Chemical Co., Ltd.; Intech EDM BV and Intech EDM AG
  Total Fines (DOJ) $11.7 million
  Total Fines (EC) €51.4 million

In March 2000, the European Commission (“EC”) commenced investigations into the specialty graphite markets, particularly isostatic graphite and extruded graphite.  Isostatic graphite is commonly used in electrical discharge machinery and in the manufacture of semi-conductor chips, and extruded graphite is used in electrolytic anodes and cathodes, boats, sintering trays and crucibles.  In 2000 and 2001, two manufacturers of isostatic graphite pled guilty to charges brought by the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) for participation in a conspiracy among the major producers of isostatic graphite to fix prices in the United States and elsewhere between 1993 and 1998.  The Canadian Competition Bureau also imposed fines on members of the cartel.

 

Enforcement Highlights:

  • The EC imposed fines totaling €51.4 million on seven companies, and the DOJ imposed fines totaling $11.8 million on two companies and two foreign national executives.
  • The Commission launched its investigation during its investigation in the graphite electrodes industry after Graftech (formerly UCAR) came forward with information suggesting another cartel in the neighboring market of specialty graphite.  Graftech benefited from full immunity as a result.
Company Conspiracy Period Fine (USD) Plea Date No. of Excluded Individuals Plea Agreement
Carbone of America Industries Corp. 7/93-2/98 $7.2 million 03/13/2000 N/A  
Toyo Tanso USA Inc. 7/93-2/98 $4.5 million 03/22/2001 N/A Plea Agreement
Individual Company Prison Sentence Fine (USD) Plea Date Plea Agreement
Michel Coniglio, CEO Carbone of America Industries Corp. None $100,000 03/13/2000  
Takeshi Takagi, Director of International Division Toyo Tanso USA Inc. 0-3 months $10,000 02/14/2001 Plea Agreement
Canada
Company Fine Date
Ibiden Co., Ltd. $ 50,000 09/19/2007
Toyo Tanso USA Inc. $ 200,000 03/28/2003
Carbone of America Industries Corp. $ 300,000 02/22/2001