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Business

German Rail sues cartel

German state-owned rail operator Deutsche Bahn has filed a lawsuit against a number of European steelmakers convicted of fixing the prices of rail equipment. The lawsuit comes after settlement talks have failed.

The claim for damages had been brought against Germany's largest steelmaker ThyssenKrupp and Czech steel group Moravia Steel, as well as against Vossloh and the German firm's former owner Stahlberg Roensch, Deutsche Bahn announced Thursday.

In the indictment, the German state-owned railway operator hasn't fixed a precise sum for which it is suing, but German media reports citing sources within Deutsche Bahn speak of damages to the tune of about 750 million euros ($991 million).

The lawsuit comes after months of talks aimed at an out-of-court settlement have failed.

"We've been hoping for reason among those running the cartel, and expected to settle amicably. But the talks were leading nowhere," Deutsche Bahn senior executive Gerd Becht said, after filing the lawsuit with the Regional court in Frankfurt.

Becht said Deutsche Bahn expected a ruling in its favor after the Federal Cartel Office had already imposed a 124-million-euro fine against the rail syndicate, from which 103 million euros would have to be paid by ThyssenKrupp alone.

German regulators have found the rail cartel, which also included Austrian steelmaker Voestalpine, guilty of manipulating prices for rail tracks and other rail equipment between 2001 and 2011.

Voestalpine said Thursday, it was still in the process of seeking an out-of-court settlement with Deutsche Bahn, which was why it was not included in the indictment.

uhe/hc ( dapd, Reuters, dpa)