The European Commission fined 17 producers of pre-stressing steel a total of €518m (£424m) for operating a cartel for 18 years, covering most EU states. Brussels said the companies, including the world's leading steel maker ArcelorMittal, operated a price-fixing and market-sharing cartel from 1984 to 2002 in all the countries that then formed the EU, except for Britain, Ireland and Greece.
The EC said the cartel usually met in the margins of official trade meetings in hotels all over Europe and it had evidence of more than 550 such meetings. The first pan-European cartel meetings took place in Zurich, and were initially referred to as "Club Zurich".
ArcelorMittal, which was fined €276m, said it was considering an appeal.