DOJ metal paint probe targets Valspar, PPG, focuses on coil coatings

07 December 2017 00:00

Paint companies Valspar and PPG are targets of a price-fixing probe into metal coatings under way at the US Department of Justice, MLex has learned.

The probe is focused in part on coatings for metal coils, which are large rolls of flattened aluminum, steel and other metals. Metal coils are typically unrolled, coated and re-rolled through an automated process.

Dutch paint company AkzoNobel previously confirmed it was contacted by the DOJ as part of the investigation.

The criminal probe is being conducted by prosecutors in the antitrust division's San Francisco office, which has opened a grand jury investigation in the Eastern District of Missouri, it is understood.

The grand jury investigation began at the end of June, it is understood.

The investigation is understood to focus on "metal paints designed to protect aluminum, steel and other substrates."

Valspar was acquired by Sherwin-Williams earlier this year, but the investigation is targeting conduct at the pre-acquisition operations of Valspar, it is understood.

A spokesperson for Sherwin-Williams declined to comment. PPG didn’t respond for comment.

The investigation is not limited to coil coatings, and given the early stage of the process, the full scope of the case has not been established.

Metal coils are often used in construction projects including aluminum siding for buildings. Akzo, PPG and Valspar make and sell the coatings. Another set of companies known as coaters purchase both the metal coils and coatings. Those companies then sell that finished product for use in construction and other projects.

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