South Korean Fair Trade Commission has fined shipbuilding major Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. for unfair trade with its subcontractors.
The KRW 970 million ($805,000) fine is described as the highest fine yet to be imposed by the anti-trust regulator for misusing technologies from other companies.
The commission said in a release that Hyundai misappropriated technical data of a piston for its diesel engine from a subcontractor, and then gave the data to a different subcontractor to replicate the piston at a lower price.
As disclosed, after ‘forcibly’ obtaining the technical data, the shipbuilder unilaterally ended the trade with its original subcontractor after 20 years of close cooperation.
Yonhap reported that following the move, the original subcontractor’s sales fell 57 percent, with its operating profit tumbling nearly sevenfold.
This resulted in the company seeking justice from the antitrust watchdog and reporting Hyundai Heavy to the police.
Hyundai Heavy Industries claimed that the data was requested for the purpose of establishing countermeasures against defects. The commission did not recognize the justification.