Marine Link
Monday, November 20, 2017

Federal Cartel Office News

Germany Halts Planned Warship Purchase

Germany's federal cartel office upheld on Thursday a complaint brought by German Naval Yards against an order from the defence ministry for five new military corvettes valued at over 1.5 billion euros, after the ministry skipped an open procurement.   The ministry had argued that the quickest way to meet the navy's urgent military needs in the Baltic and Mediterranean seas would be to buy more of the ships already produced by a consortium including Luerssen Werft and ThyseenKrupp.   However, the cartel office agreed with German Naval Yards that the need for competition took priority, confirming reports on Wednesday by two German newspapers.   An appeal may be lodged within two weeks. (Reporting by Anneli Palmen; Writing by Madeline Chambers, Editing by Thomas Escritt)

Radio Holland Group Now Officially Part of Imtech N.V.

Radio Holland Group B.V. and Imtech N.V. (technical services provider in Europe) announce that the intended acquisition of Radio Holland Group, international specialist in marine satellite and radio communications, automation, and observation and navigation systems is definitive. The acquisition has been approved by both the NMa (Dutch Competition Authority) and German Bundeskartellamt (German Federal Cartel Office). This acquisition will almost double revenues of Imtech in the maritime market, which yields a place it in the global top 5. The acquisition price, including an earn-out, is approximately 47 million euro and will be paid in cash.

Lürssen Group Buys the Peene shipyard

In a meeting of the creditor committee, and acting on the suggestion of the insolvency administrator, Berthold Brinkmann, P+S WERFTEN decided in favor of the Lürssen Group (Bremen) as the buyer of the Peene shipyard in Wolgast. This decision is subject to approval by the creditors holding liens on the property. The purchase agreement has already been concluded. As of May 1, 2013, the Lürssen Group will acquire the compact shipyard with its repair and new construction area. The purchase is also subject to approval by the Federal Cartel Office. The purchase price is less than 20 million euros. Berthold Brinkmann: “Lürssen offered the best purchase price.

Imtech to Acquire Radio Holland Group

Radio Holland Group B.V. announced that Imtech N.V. intends to acquire its shares. The acquisition will almost double the revenues of Imtech in the maritime market and place it in the global top five of the global marine market. The acquisition fits the Imtech strategy of further international growth in the maritime market. Both parties have signed an agreement regarding the transfer of shares of the current owners, ABN AMRO Capital (56%) and the Foundation Co-Investors Radio Holland Group (44%) in which investors and current RH management participate. In this regard, Imtech will acquire all Radio Holland Group shares, including equity participation and holdings. It is agreed with the management of the Radio Holland Group that they will continue to dedicate themselves to the organization.

NYK to Pay $20 Mln for Cartel Conviction

(File photo: NYK)

Australia has fined and convicted Japanese shipping firm Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) for operating as a cartel in relation to the transport of vehicles into the country, its competition regulator said on Thursday. The charges relate to the transportation of motor vehicles to Australia between 2009 and 2012, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commision (ACCC) said in a statement. A new law in Australia criminalised cartel behaviour in 2009, although the activity had been going on since at least February 1997, the ACCC said. "The cartel ...

ThyssenKrupp, German Naval Yards in New Warship Bid

File Image: A recently launched German warship / courtesy ThyssenKrupp

Luerssen, ThyssenKrupp and German Naval Yards have agreed to bid jointly for a German navy warship contract after competition authorities struck down an earlier bid, an industry source said. The contract had originally been worth 1.5 billion euros($1.68 billion) but it is unclear how much the government will ultimately pay. The contract for five corvettes, which had been due to be awarded without tender to a consortium of ThyssenKrupp and Luerssen, was struck down by the German cartel office after German Naval Yards complained.

Texas Boats Combat Drug Cartels on the Rio Grande

Texas Marine Unit Uses Yellowfin-built Shallow Water Vessels for Border Patrol missions. Menaced by Mexican drug cartels, the Texas Department of Public Safety operates a fleet of six shallow-water vessels it commissioned in late 2011 and 2012 to patrol its borders. The agency purchased the boats from Bradenton, Florida-based manufacturer Yellowfin Yachts as threats along the Rio Grande escalated. Yellowfin custom builds its 34-foot fishing boats for military and police purposes…

Jail for Execs in Marine Hose Bid-Rigging Conspiracy

An independent consultant and two executives of Dunlop Oil & Marine Ltd., a manufacturer of marine hose located in Grimsby, U.K., pleaded guilty and have agreed to serve record-setting prison sentences for participating in a conspiracy to rig bids, fix prices, and allocate market shares of marine hose sold in the U.S. the Department of Justice announced. The plea agreements were filed today in U.S. District Court in Houston. The Antitrust Division filed a one-count felony charge on Dec. 3, 2007, against Peter Whittle, sole proprietor of a consulting business named PW Consulting (Oil & Marine); Bryan Allison, managing director of Dunlop Oil & Marine Ltd.; and David Brammar, Dunlop’s sales and marketing director, in U.S. District Court in Houston.

Jo Tankers Receives Charges from EU over Alleged Cartel

Norwegian tanker company Jo Tankers has confirmed it has received a statement of objections from the European Commission regarding an antitrust probe into bulk liquid shipping companies. The response follows a confirmation from peer Odfjell ASA that the EU Commission had begun formal investigations of it in an antitrust probe. The commission said earlier it had issued formal cartel charges against 'a number of' bulk liquid shipping companies, without naming them. In 2003, the four major chemical tanker operators in Europe -- Odfjell, Stolt-Nielsen Jo Tankers and Tokyo Marine in London -- announced that antitrust authorities raided their offices in Norway, the Netherlands and the UK, investigating a possible cartel.

Stolt Nielsen Probed for Trade Embargo Allegations

Stolt Nielsen has reported that it is cooperating with a U.S. probe for alleged business dealings with Sudan and Iran. Stolt Nielsen Transportation Group (SNTG) is being probed by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s office for payment of incidental port expenses to entities in Sudan. According to the Wall Street Journal, which initially revealed the U.S. probe on May 20, records and legal documents show that ships owned by Stolt Nielsen or a joint venture were used for trade with Cuba, Sudan and Iran despite a U.S. trade blacklist. The U.S. attorney’s office in Connecticut has also launched an investigation regarding Stolt Nielsen’s trade practices.

U.S. Oil Prices March Forward

U.S. By early afternoon, crude oil for February delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange was trading at $28.30 a barrel, a 35-cent rise, taking total gains in the last six trading sessions to $2.50 a barrel, or ten percent. A statement by OPEC Secretary-General Ali Rodriguez on Sunday spurred the day's advance. Rodriguez, the former energy minister of Venezuela said on Sunday that the 11-member producers' cartel had a consensus to cut crude oil supplies but had not decided by how much. "For the time being there is a consensus to cut but how much we don't know," Rodriguez said. Rodriguez's remarks came after the former Venezuelan energy minister met with departing U.S. Energy Secretary Richardson in Vienna.

OPEC Ministers Favor No Output Change

OPEC officials said all OPEC ministers are in favor of leaving oil production levels unchanged at an extraordinary meeting of the cartel scheduled for next month. Venezuelan Energy and Mines Minister Ali Rodriguez, currently OPEC president, said oil prices were behaving as he expected since the cartel imposed a target price band in March. Rodriguez said he did not expect any change in the band's $22 to $28 per barrel range for the OPEC export price basket this year.

EC Fines Steel Companies

The European Commission (EC) fined eight steel companies a total of 99 million euros after its probe into a cartel in the market for seamless steel tubes used in the oil and gas industries. The EC said the producers had colluded between 1990 and 1995 to restrict themselves to their domestic markets and not to Compete against each other, which it regarded as a serious breach European antitrust rules. The Commission said the cartel had been operated by European and Japanese firms, which are the largest seamless steel tube producers in the world, under the Code name "Europe-Japan Club."

Justice Department Will Not Appeal Stolt-Nielsen Decision

The Department of Justice issued the following statement regarding whether or not the Department will appeal the decision by the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia dismissing the indictment in U.S. v. Stolt-Nielsen S.A. “The Department of Justice has determined that it will not appeal the dismissal of the indictment in U.S. v. Stolt-Nielsen S.A. et al. While the Division is disappointed with the ruling, it respects the role of the court in making the factual determinations that support the decision that Stolt-Nielsen, two of its subsidiaries, and two executives did not breach the conditional leniency agreement. Since the Antitrust Division revised its Leniency Program in 1993…

K-Line to Plead Guilty to Price Fixing

Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. (K-Line), a Japanese corporation, has agreed to plead guilty and to pay a $67.7 million criminal fine for its involvement in a conspiracy to fix prices, allocate customers, and rig bids of international ocean shipping services for roll-on, roll-off cargo, such as cars and trucks, to and from the United States and elsewhere, the Department of Justice announced today. According to a one-count felony charge filed today in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland in Baltimore…

Tanker Companies Investigated for Possible Cartel Activities

The European Commission (EC) has stated that unannounced inspections were carried out at the premises of a number of operators of deep sea maritime tanker services in several European Economic Area (EEA) countries. EEA countries include the 15 European Union states, plus Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein. The purpose of the inspections was to ascertain whether there is evidence of a cartel agreement and related illegal practices.

NYK Shipping Exec Jailed for Price Fixing

Photo: NYK

An employee of Japan-based Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) pleaded guilty today and was sentenced to 15 months in a U.S. prison for his involvement in a conspiracy to fix prices, allocate customers and rig bids of international ocean shipping services for roll-on, roll-off cargo, such as cars and trucks, to and from the United States and elsewhere, the U.S. Department of Justice announced. According to the one-count felony charge filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland in Baltimore on Jan.

Houston Conducts Oil Spill Response Drill

Local, state and federal agencies are holding an oil spill response exercise at the Port of Houston, April 25-26. The exercise scenario simulates an explosion, fire onboard the ship Cape Trinity, and a 252,000 gallon oil spill in the turning basin of the Houston Ship Channel. The Cape Trinity is a Maritime Administration (MARAD) ship used for transporting military equipment and supplies overseas. The exercise, called Trinity 2006, will be used to train and test local responders and response plans. Agencies participating in the exercise include: U.S. Coast Guard, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Texas General Land Office, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration…

Florida Port Regs Aim To Stop Drugs

Florida's deep-sea ports are about to get a security makeover aimed at slowing the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S., Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said. A bill passed in the waning hours of the state legislative session is expected to earmark more than $30 million for port security enhancement in the next three years as part of an effort that officials say is needed to stem the tide of drugs entering the United States through Florida ports. Bush said the seaport security measure would come on top of existing programs to halt the offloading of illegal drugs from freighters on the Miami River and to divert out to sea smaller cargoes carried in speedier vessels.

Peene-Werft Wolgast Delivers Vessel to Swedish Coast Guard

KBV 033 at the Peene Shipyard

The coast guard vessel (Kustbevakningen Vessel) KBV 033 was handed over to the Swedish Coast Guard with a reflagging ceremony at dock three of the Peene shipyard in Wolgast. A special day for P+S Werften, currently under insolvency administration: Initially the Swedish Coast Guard placed an order for a total of four newly built KBVs in 2008; but in the context of insolvency proceedings, the Peene shipyard could not fulfill the order completely without a new agreement. Two of the coast guard vessels were already delivered in June and July of 2012.

U.S. Oil Prices Surge Nearly $2

U.S. oil prices rocketed almost two dollars Wednesday on word that Saudi Arabia would reduce February crude sales by five percent despite U.S. appeals to the OPEC cartel not to cut oil output too sharply, Reuters reported. February crude futures oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) closed at $29.50, up $1.86 a barrel or some seven percent. This takes gains over the last eight trading sessions to more than $3.50 dollars a barrel. Saudi Arabia, which produced about 8.6 million barrels per day (bpd) or 11 percent of worldwide production in December has already said it will back a total OPEC output cut of 1.5 million bpd or around five percent when the cartel meets Jan. 17 in Vienna. U.S.

EU Fines 15 Leading Shippers For Collusion

The European Commission said on Tuesday it had fined 15 liner shipping companies a total of just under $6.3 million for agreeing not to offer discounts from their published tariffs. The companies involved were members of the now-defunct Far East Trade Tariff Charges and Surcharges Agreement (FETTCSA), and include Germany's Hapag-Lloyd AG, Denmark's A.P. Moeller and Britain's P&O Nedlloyd. The Commission said the fines were modest because an agreement not to discount is less damaging to competition than a price-fixing cartel. "Shipping lines operating within liner conferences benefit from an exceptionally generous exemption from the normal European competition rules," EU Competition Commissioner Mario Monti said.

South Africa Raids Boxship Operator's Offices

File Image: a CMA CGM boxship alongside and loading cargo. (Credit: Marad)

Six of the world's biggest container shipping companies were raided by South African authorities on Wednesday on suspicion of colluding to inflate rates between Asia and South Africa, the country's Competition Commission said. The six companies comprise local subsidiaries of Denmark's Maersk, Swiss-headquartered Mediterranean Shipping Company, France's CMA CGM Shipping, Germany's Hamburg Sud, Singapore-based Pacific International Line and Maersk unit Safmarine, the commission said in a statement.

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