Paris, France, headquartered LNG containment specialist GTT (Gaztransport & Technigaz) says it will appeal a fine of approximately $11.4 million imposed on it by the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC).
KFTC’s decision to levy the fine is the latest development in a long running dispute between GTT and Korean shipyards irked at the license fees they must pay to use GTT cargo containment solutions in the LNG carriers they build.
According to GTT, in its decision the KFTC found that some of the company’s commercial practices have not complied with Korean competition regulations since 2016, and, “notably requests that GTT allow those Korean shipyards which would so request to perform all or part of the technical assistance services currently included in the technology license.”
GTT says that the combined licensing of the technology and the technical assistance constitute “an inseparable offering” that guarantees the integrity of the GTT technologies, and that any separation could be detrimental to the entire LNG carrier industry.
GTT challenges the rationale of the decision and, on receipt of the KFTC’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.
Philippe Berterottière, Chairman and CEO of GTT, stated: “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.”