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ThyssenKrupp, Vossloh Sued Over $728 Million Cartel Claim

Dec. 20 (Bloomberg) -- ThyssenKrupp AG, Vossloh AG and Moravia Steel were sued for damages by Deutsche Bahn AG for fixing the prices for rails.

Deutsche Bahn filed a suit at the Frankfurt Regional Court after settlement talks failed, the railway said in an e-mailed statement today. The court confirmed the suit and said Deutsche Bahn valued the claims at 550 million euros ($728 million).

“In recent months, we appealed to the understanding of the cartel participants and hoped to reach a settlement,” Deutsche Bahn said. The talks have failed to yield “an expedient cooperation.”

ThyssenKrupp, Vossloh and Voestalpine AG were fined a combined 124.5 million euros in July by Germany’s Federal Cartel Office for antitrust violations in the railway-steel market. Under German law, the regulator’s findings are binding in the civil suit.

ThyssenKrupp hasn’t yet received the complaint, the company said in an e-mailed statement. It’s still in talks with Deutsche Bahn over the issue and there was no need to file a suit, it said.

A spokesman for Moravia didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment. A Vossloh spokesman declined to comment.

Deutsche Bahn seeks a judgment holding the companies liable and also wants them to produce information to help calculate the amount of damage caused by the cartel, said Arne Hasse, a court spokesman. The railway also claims the companies have to pay contractual fines because they broke the law, Hasse said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Karin Matussek in Berlin at kmatussek@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@Bloomberg.net.

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