SEOUL, South Korea (May 19, 2009)—The Korea Fair Trade Commission has imposed a corrective order and a total of $448,000 surcharge on five marine hose manufacturers.
This is the first time the KFTC has imposed sanctions on members of a cartel.
KFTC said Bridgestone Corp., Dunlop Oil & Marine Ltd., Trelleborg Industrie S.A., Parker ITR and Manuli Rubber Industries S.p.A. engaged in a cartel to rig bids, fix prices and allocate market shares of marine hose sold in Korea and elsewhere from at least 1999 through 2006.
KFTC said Yokohama Rubber also engaged in the cartel but was not fined because it disclosed the cartel to the KFTC under the leniency program.
The KFTC found that in or about 1999, five companies except Manuli restored the so-called "Marine Hose Club" which dated back to at least 1986. Manuli rejoined the group in 2000, according to the KFTC.
These six companies manufacture and sell marine hose all over the world. They accounted for 95 percent of marine hose sold globally and 100 percent in South Korea. Five oil refining companies—Korea National Oil Corp., SK energy Corp., Hyundai Oilbank Corp., S-Oil Corp., GS Caltex Corp.—were damaged by the cartel.