MOSCOW, June 23 (RAPSI) – The Supreme Commercial Court has upheld previous appeals court decisions that overruled a Federal Antimonopoly Service decision that implicated Novolipetsk Steel in unjustified transformer steel price hikes for Russian buyers, RAPSI learned in the court on Monday.

The Supreme Commercial Court, in siding with the appeals courts, pointed out that the courts of appeals based their conclusions on the concrete circumstances of the case and on both sides’ arguments. The courts ruled that the FAS had not provided sufficient proof of Novolipetsk Steel setting monopolistically high prices.

In late January 2011, an Federal Antimonopoly Service commission established that from August 2009 to December 2010 two NLMK companies – Novolipetsk Steel and VIZ Steel – raised the prices of grain oriented (transformer) steel. The prices they set for Russian customers were nearly 50% higher than the prices on foreign markets with more competitive environments. The service concluded that the NLMK companies’ actions could limit competition on the electrical transformer market.

The antimonopoly service commission subsequently instructed the NLMK companies to rectify the violation of the antimonopoly law by setting a price for the 0.23-0.5 mm transformer steel that would equal the weighted average export price of these products for the previous month.

Novolipetsk Steel and VIZ Steel appealed the Federal Antimonopoly Service's decision in court.

NLMK is a vertically integrated steel business controlling every stage of steel production from mining to the final stages of steel processing and distribution.