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Business

ThyssenKrupp settles with Deutsche Bahn over rail cartel damages

ThyssenKrupp has announced an out of court settlement with rail operator Deutsche Bahn in connection with a price-fixing cartel. The German national railways claimed millions in losses from manipulated rail prices.

ThyssenKrupp had agreed in principle to pay damages to Deutsche Bahn in connection with its involvement in the so-called rail cartel, Germany's largest steelmaker announced on Wednesday.

The agreement was reached following lengthy discussions with the German rail operator, ThyssenKrupp said in a statement, and the settlement was still subject to approval by the two companies' responsible bodies.

"ThyssenKrupp assume that there will be no further costs on top of the provisions already recognized," the statement went on without providing any specific amount for the settlement.

German daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, however, wrote that the damages were in the region of 150 million euros ($202 million).

In 2012, Germany's national railway operator Deutsche Bahn sued ThyssenKrupp for damages after the steelmaker had admitted to antitrust violations in the country's railway-steel market. Other firms involved in the cartel were Moravia Steel from the Czech Republic, Austria's Voestalpine and Vossloh from Germany.

Deutsche Bahn said it suffered losses to the tune of half a billion euros as a result of manipulated market prices for its rails. In 2011, German antitrust regulators already imposed 230 million euros in fines on ThyssenKrupp.

The settlement with Deutsche Bahn may not be the last effort by ThyssenKrupp to come clean on its past. A number of other German private and community-owned railway operators are said to have filed claims for damages as well.

uhe/mz (Reuters, AFP)