WASHINGTON-Quincy, Ill.-based Titan Wheel International Inc. agreed May 7 to pay $130,000 to settle allegations of federal antitrust notification violations surrounding its July 1994 acquisition of a Des Moines, Iowa, farm tire plant. According to a complaint filed by the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, Titan took control of the former Pirelli Armstrong Tire Corp. plant before the time allotted for the agencies to review the $41 million acquisition had expired.
Titan and Pirelli Armstrong, the complaint said, signed the asset purchase agreement July 17, 1994, but didn't file premerger notification documents until July 20.
On July 29, the companies transferred ownership of the plant back to Pirelli Armstrong, pending government approval of the acquisition.
Nevertheless, from July 17 to 29, Titan allegedly was in violation of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, which requires companies to observe a waiting period and other protocols during the premerger notification process.
The fine was calculated at the maximum amount of $10,000 per day times the 13 days.
``We fiercely disagree with the government action,'' a Titan spokesman said. ``But because the cost of fighting the fine would be greater than the cost of paying it, we'll pay it.''
At the time of the acquisition, the plant's 820 employees were on strike against Pirelli Armstrong. ``A lot of jobs were on the line then,'' the spokesman said. ``The federal bureaucracy, in typical style, instead of congratulating us for saving those jobs, penalized us for it.''