- Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd (HKEx) has settled two class-action lawsuits against itself and the London Metal Exchange (LME) over allegations of anti-competitive and monopolistic behavior.
No money was paid by either side in arriving at the settlement, the HKEx-owned LME said in a statement.
Under the settlement announced by HKEx on Sunday, the plaintiffs agreed to drop the LME from appeals against a U.S. court’s decision last August dismissing them from their cases, the exchange said.
This leaves the plaintiffs free to ask the LME for publicly available data, which they were prevented from doing while the LME was a defendant in the lawsuits. LME data includes inventory levels in the warehouses it monitors.
"These are the only principal terms of the settlement," the London-based LME said.
The lawsuits, brought last year by companies in the United States, accused banks and traders of hoarding metal in LME warehouses, driving up the prices of industrial products from soft-drink cans to aeroplanes.
The plaintiffs, which included small aluminum manufacturers, had argued that the 137-year-old exchange abetted the scam by writing rules that made it possible and ignoring calls to change.
The world's oldest metals marketplace has in the past year undertaken sweeping reform of warehouse practices, aimed at solving the central problem of huge backlogs to withdraw metal from its global network.
In March a U.S. judge threw out the aluminum price-fixing claims against several Wall Street banks, commodity merchants and HKEx.
Of 26 lawsuits filed against the LME, 24 were consolidated into three complaints according to type of user: "first-level" purchasers that buy primary aluminum, consumer end users and commercial end users.
With regard to the third lawsuit complaint, the "first level" purchasers, HKEx said that plaintiffs had not yet filed an appeal against a U.S. District Court's decision.
The LME was bought by HKEx in 2012 for 1.4 billion pounds.