Goldman, JPMorgan Must Face Revised Aluminum Price-Fix Case

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Glencore Plc were ordered to face manufacturers’ antitrust claims that they conspired to manipulate the price of aluminum to boost trading profits.

U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan rejected a request by the banks and their aluminum warehousing operations to dismiss the claims entirely. She threw out a monopolization claim against Goldman Sachs and some state-law claims against all the defendants.

The judge, who had earlier thrown out the whole case, allowed the manufacturers, which include Agfa Corp., Mag Instrument Inc. and Eastman Kodak Co., to amend their complaint to try to present valid claims. Thursday’s ruling allows them to pursue evidence and attempt to prove their case.

“Plaintiffs have not done the world’s greatest job in explicating how all of the parts fit together, but they have done enough,” Forrest said in a written opinion Thursday.

The manufacturers claim the banks and Glencore, a mining company, conspired with warehousing companies to manipulate the Platts Midwest Premium, a benchmark used in setting the price of aluminum. The aim was to increase commodity trading profit and warehouse revenue, according to the plaintiffs.

Forrest earlier dismissed claims by consumers who buy aluminum products. She also threw out claims against a group of foreign companies, including LME Holdings Ltd.

Michael DuVally, a spokesman for Goldman Sachs, declined to comment on Thursday’s ruling, as did Joe Evangelisti, a spokesman for JPMorgan. Both banks are based in New York. Charles Watenphul of London-based Glencore couldn’t be reached for comment after business hours. He didn’t immediately return an e-mail.

The case is In Re Aluminum Warehousing Antitrust Litigation, 13-md-02481, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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