Grainger-U.S. government settle overcharge claims for $70 million

WASHINGTON Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:10am GMT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - W.W. Grainger has agreed to pay $70 million to resolve assertions that the hardware distributor overcharged federal government agencies, the U.S. Justice Department said on Wednesday.

The Fortune 500 company had contracts with the General Services Administration (GSA) and the U.S. Postal Service. The Justice Department said that Grainger's GSA contract required disclosure of commercial pricing policies but an audit showed that it had failed to provide accurate information.

The Justice Department said Grainger, based in Lake Forest, Illinois, also had failed to meet obligations to provide the Postal Service with "most-favored customer" prices.

In a statement, the company, which has a market capitalization of about $13.8 billion, said the agreement settled its "long-standing contract dispute with the federal government", which involved contracts implemented more than 10 years ago.

Grainger had disclosed a $70 million reserve for the settlement in October.

(Reporting by Aruna Viswanatha; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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