WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department is barring Japan’s Showa Denko, which struck a deal to buy Germany’s SGL Group’s graphite electrode assets globally, from purchasing its U.S. business.
The companies are two of three leading firms that make big high power graphite electrodes used to melt scrap metal in some U.S. steel mills. Because of this, Showa Denko agreed under the terms of a settlement to sell SGL’s manufacturing facilities in Arkansas and Kentucky.
The agreement is the second sign in as many days that President Donald Trump’s Justice Department may disappoint investors who had hoped for a more laissez faire approach to antitrust enforcement.
On Tuesday, the department sued to partially un-do Parker-Hannifin Corp’s purchase of Clarcor Inc, which closed in February.
In October, SGL Group said it would sell its graphite electrode business to Japanese chemicals firm Showa Denko for some 350 million euros ($384 million).
SGL has been seeking a buyer for the business, which has been losing money because cheap blast furnace steel from China is taking global market share from operators of electric arc furnaces elsewhere.
Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Cynthia Osterman