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TWO HOUSTON OIL FIELD SUPPLY COMPANIES INDICTED IN PRICE FIXING CONSPIRACY

 WASHINGTON, Oct. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- A federal grand jury in Houston returned a one-court indictment today against two oil field supply companies for conspiring to raise the price of a product used on oil field drilling rigs to cut through soil and rock to reach oil and gas reserves.
 According to the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division, Smith International Inc. and Camco International Inc. conspired to fix prices of rock bits sold to more than 500 customers located throughout the United States, including independent drilling contractors, major oil companies, and oil and gas property owners.
 According to the indictment, Smith, Camco and co-conspirators engaged in a conspiracy that began in March 1989 and continued through November 1989, to increase prices of rock bits by reducing discounts and publishing new price lists with higher prices. Rock bits, also known as tricone or roller cone bits, range in price from about $600 to $34,000 per bit. Since 1989, rock bit sales have totaled about $450 million each year, about half of which have been in the United States and half abroad.
 Smith, a Delaware corporation headquartered in Houston, markets worldwide oil field products and services, with annual revenues of approximately $221 million. In 1989, Smith had rock bit revenues of approximately $125 million, including sales of about $65 million to customers in the United States.
 Camco, also a Delaware corporation headquartered in Houston, markets worldwide a diverse line of products and services related to oil and gas exploration and production, with annual revenues of approximately $500 million. Camco manufactures and sells rock bits through its division, Reed Tool Company, also based in Houston. In 1989, Reed Tool Company had rock bit revenues of approximately $79 million, including sales of about $41 million to customers in the United States.
 This indictment follows an earlier guilty plea by Hughes Christensen Company, formerly Hughes Tool Company, related to this charge. The company agreed to pay a $1 million fine, and to cooperate in the Antitrust Division's investigation.
 In 1989, total domestic sales of rock bits were approximately $220 million, of which Smith had a market share of about 30 percent, Hughes Tool Company with about 28 percent and Camco with about 18 percent.
 The indictment follows a broad-scale investigation conducted with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Houston.
 The maximum penalty for a corporation convicted of violating the Sherman Act before Nov. 16, 1990, is a fine that is the greatest of $1 million, twice the pecuniary gain derived from the crime or twice the pecuniary loss caused to the victims of the crime.
 -0- 10/22/93
 /CONTACT: Department of Justice, 202-514-2007, or TDD, 202-514-1888/


CO: Department of Justice; Smith International Inc.; Camco
 International Inc. ST: District of Columbia IN: OIL SU: EXE


IH-PB -- DC040 -- 5909 10/22/93 16:51 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 22, 1993
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