By Gavin Evans
Nov. 20 (BusinessDesk) - The Commerce Commission is appealing the record $1.89 million fine imposed against Steel & Tube Holdings for misrepresenting steel mesh products it sold.
The regulator said Auckland District Court Judge Warren Cathcart erred last month by not adequately taking into account the size of Steel & Tube and the potential it had to gain from the misconduct.
Nor had the judge properly attributed the knowledge of a Steel & Tube manager to the company.
The commission won’t comment further now the matter is back before the court.
Steel & Tube Holdings was sentenced last month on 24 charges under the Fair Trading Act after an earlier guilty plea. The charges, brought by the commission, related to conduct spanning four years, where Steel & Tube sold about 480,000 sheets of steel mesh for $24 million from 482 batches.
The regulator argued Steel & Tube misled the public with representations that the mesh met an Australia/New Zealand standard for reinforcing steel when it didn't, and that the batches had been independently tested when they hadn't.
The judge had started at a $2.9 million fine for the company, discounted to reflect Steel & Tube's cooperation and early guilty plea.
Steel & Tube shares last traded at $1.28. They have fallen about 64 percent so far this year.