French LNG containment specialist GTT has been fined €9.5 million ($11.3 million) by the South Korean Fair Trade Commission (FTC).
The FTC issued a fine noting that GTT’s commercial practices have not complied with Korean competition regulations since 2016.
The watchdog has been investigating GTT’s commercial practices with the South Korean shipyards in relation to the construction of LNG carriers.
FTC also requested GTT to allow those South Korean shipyards which would so request to perform all or part of the technical assistance services currently included in the technology license.
In its response to the FTC decision, GTT noted that the license of the technology and the technical assistance constitute an inseparable offering, which guarantees the integrity of its technologies. The company said that any separation could be detrimental to the entire LNG carrier industry.
Commenting on the decision, GTT’s chairman and CEO, Philippe Berterottière, said, “We are convinced that our commercial practices comply with the Korean competition rules and that the structuring of our offer, which has contributed for decades to the safe development of LNG maritime transport, makes it possible to provide our shipyard partners with ever more innovative, safe and efficient technologies, for the benefit of the entire industry.”
The LNG containment specialist said it challenges the rationale of this decision and, upon receipt of FTC’s written decision, intends to appeal against it, with a request for suspension of the decision, before the Seoul High Court.
The company does not anticipate any significant financial or industrial impact in the short or mid-term.
Depending on the conclusions of the appeal procedure, it will reassess the consequences on its activities.
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