South African petroleum product suppliers have, under a settlement agreement with the Competition Tribunal, agreed to change how they share information.
The Competition Tribunal on Friday confirmed the settlement agreement with the South African Petroleum Industry Association (Sapia), Chevron South Africa, Engen, Shell South Africa, Total South Africa, BP South Africa and Sasol in connection with the sharing of information that allegedly allowed them to track one another’s diesel sales.
An October 2013 investigation by the Competition Commission found that the respondents were involved in exchanging information in aggregated and disaggregated format on a monthly basis; and that they were involved in reviewing the wholesale list selling price of diesel with the Department of Energy, which formed part of their price build-up for diesel.
The companies maintain that the conduct was not unlawful and the commission has elected not to pursue the matter further.
However, the companies have undertaken to only provide data to an independent third party, appointed by Sapia, which will collect and aggregate the data supplied by the respondents. The information that is disseminated to the third-party provider must be aggregated across all market participants and the information disseminated should not be less than three months in arrears.
Other conditions of the settlement include that the information disseminated to an independent third party must be an aggregation of not less than four market participants and that the information can be broken down by trade category per province, subject to it containing an aggregation of no less than the four market participants.
The conditions of the agreement will apply for five years.