Part 2 Consents
Fortiline, LLC, a company that distributes ductile iron pipe, fittings and accessories throughout much of the United States, agreed to settle charges that it violated federal antitrust law by inviting a competitor to raise and fix prices. This is the first case where the FTC has challenged an invitation to collude by a firm that is both a direct competitor with, and a distributor for, the invitee. According to an administrative complaint filed by the FTC, on two occasions in 2010, Fortiline invited a competing firm, which mainly manufactures ductile iron pipe but also engaged in direct sales to contractors, to collude on pricing in North Carolina and most of Virginia. In some areas, Fortiline competes with this firm – identified in the complaint as “Manufacturer A” – by distributing ductile iron pipe (“DIP”) products made by another DIP manufacturer, identified as “Manufacturer B.” In other areas, Fortiline distributes the product of Manufacturer A. The FTC’s complaint alleges that on two occasions when Fortiline was competing with Manufacturer A, Fortiline communicated an invitation to collude on DIP pricing.The proposed consent order prohibits Fortiline from entering into, attempting to enter into, or inviting any agreement with any competitor to raise or fix prices, divide markets, or allocate customers.