Showa Corp. admits role in price-fixing

By Dustin Ensinger

April 30, 2014

A Japanese-based company with American headquarters in the Village of Sunbury has agreed to pay nearly $20 million for its role in a price-fixing scheme.

Showa Corp. conspired with other companies to rig bids and fix prices for pinion-assist type electric powered steering assemblies sold to Honda Motor Co., according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The company has pleaded guilty, agreed to pay a $19.9 million criminal fine and will cooperate with an ongoing investigation into the matter.

The company’s subsidiary, American Showa, is based in Sunbury. It is one of the largest employers in Delaware County.

“Today’s guilty plea marks the 27th time a company has been held accountable for fixing prices on parts used to manufacture cars in the United States,” Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer said in a press release. “The Antitrust Division and its law enforcement partners remain committed to prosecuting illegal cartels that harm U.S. consumers and businesses.”

Twenty-seven companies and 34 executives have been ensnared in the investigation. They have agreed to pay $2.3 billion in criminal fines.

Showa Corps.’ involvement in the price-fixing scheme dates back as early as 2007, according to the Department of Justice.

According to the charges filed with U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, the company “engaged in a conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition in the automotive parts industry.”

The conspiracy was carried out through meetings – sometimes at remote locations – in which the company and co-conspirators agreed on bids and price quotations to send to Honda.

The company said operations will continue uninterrupted.

“American Showa Inc. values its customers, associates and the communities it serves; and is fully committed to ethical business practices and to exceeding its customers’ expectations,” the company said in a statement. “American Showa Inc.’s daily operations will continue as usual and all fines are the responsibility of Showa Corporation.”