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Competition Policy News

Lafarge, NPC-Cimpor still face cartel penalties as AfriSam is fined R124.9m 

By: Terence Creamer     1st November 2011 South African cement producer AfriSam has reached a R124.9-million settlement agreement with the Competition Commission for its part in a cement cartel involving three other cement producers. The agreement followed on from a commission investigation, initiated in June 2008, of price fixing and... 

South Africa moves to enhance its intellectual property policy

By: Tracy Hancock     19th August 2011 The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) intends to submit the Intellectual Property (IP) draft policy to Cabinet next month to secure approval to undertake wider public consultation, sates DTI group COO Jodi Scholtz. She announced this at the department’s IP Indaba, in Pretoria, at the... 

New Growth Path imperatives said to underpin State’s Walmart appeal

By: Schalk Burger     12th August 2011 Should South African retailers’ direct competition source cheaper products from foreign companies, local retailers would follow suit, which could lead to the closure of local suppliers and job losses, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies warned last week, when explaining government's... 

Many businesses unaware criminal liability for certain cartel behaviour already exists – lawyers

By: Eleanor Seggie     29th July 2011 The business community has been prevailing under the misapprehension that criminal liability for cartel behaviour will only become a reality once the Competition Amendment Act, No 1 of 2009, is promulgated.  

Waste offenders face stiff penalties, but enforcement capacity questioned

By: Eleanor Seggie     22nd July 2011 While the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, No 59 of 2008 brings with it abundant opportunities and regulatory tools, it also introduces severe criminal liability for directors and companies.  

Tiger Brands hoping for significant earnings from recently acquired businesses

By: Eleanor Seggie     17th June 2011 Consumer packaged goods company Tiger Brands’ has made a number of acquisitions set to generate significant earnings in the longer-term. 

Grain storage and trading firms to pay R21m in competition settlement

By: Loni Prinsloo     6th June 2011 Four grain companies have agreed to pay administrative penalties for fixing the South African Futures Exchanges’ (Safex) daily grain storage tariffs, the Competition Commission said on Monday. Afgri Operations would pay the largest administrative penalty, R15.6-million, while Kaap Agri would pay... 

Wal-Mart deal could open doors for other retail takeovers – economist

By: Brindaveni Naidoo     10th May 2011 The R16,5-billion acquisition of Massmart by the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, if successful, could open up the South African retail market to further acquisitions by foreign companies. Econometrix senior economist Tony Twine tells Engineering News Online that there are other companies in... 

Competition Commission appoints head for new cartel division

By: Brindaveni Naidoo     5th May 2011 The Competition Commission, which established a cartels division in April, has appointed Advocate Oliver Josie as the head of the new division. Advocacy and stakeholder relations manager Oupa Bodipe told Engineering News Online that there are currently 15 people employed within the cartels unit,... 

Raubex files ‘fast-track’ application with competition body

By: Petronel Smit     29th April 2011 JSE-listed Raubex has confirmed that it filed an application with the Competition Commission by the April 15 deadline for “fast track” submissions, after it became aware of certain irregularities in terms of the provisions of the Competition Act. The company on Friday reported that certain... 

DTI says Japanese takeover of Freeworld to weaken competition 

By: Loni Prinsloo     31st March 2011 The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has asked the Competition Commission to oppose the hostile takeover of South African company Freeworld Coatings by Japanese multinational Kansai Paint. Kansai has been locked in a public dispute with Freeworld's management since announcing its... 

Bedfordview shopping centre collusion referred to Competition Tribunal

By: Loni Prinsloo     16th March 2011 The Competition Commission said on Wednesday it had referred a collusion case in the Gauteng retail property market to the Competition Tribunal for adjudication. The referral followed a complaint and and subsequent leniency application from the HBW Group, which owns the Bedford Square shopping... 

New auto purchasing council set to fuel SA’s local content drive 

By: Terence Creamer     11th March 2011 An original equipment manufacturers (OEM) ‘purchasing council’, which would seek to further bolster localisation efforts in South Africa’s automotive supply chain, is being finalised, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe revealed on Friday. Addressing a Motor Industry Staff Association (Misa)... 

Massmart staff, suppliers not at risk as Walmart enters, CEO avers

By: Eleanor Seggie     11th March 2011 Massmart CEO Grant Pattison does not believe that competitors and suppliers of Massmart will suffer as a consequence of the Walmart deal. 

M&R has made no specific provision for bid-rigging fines

By: Terence Creamer     25th February 2011 Construction group Murray & Roberts (M&R), which has been named along with South Africa’s four other major contractors as having participated in bid rigging, believes that the level of penalty that could arise from the current Competition Commission settlement process to be “well within current... 

SA’s Competition Commission receives international accolades

By: Christy van der Merwe     8th February 2011 South Africa’s Competition Commission recently scooped the accolade of ‘Agency of the Year in Asia-Pacific, Middle East & Africa’ in the Global Competition Review (GCR) 2011 awards held in the US. “We feel honoured at this recognition by our peers. The commission has matured into an effective... 

Safcec urges members to cooperate with competition probe

By: Petronel Smit     8th February 2011 The South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors (Safcec) on Tuesday welcomed the Competition Commission investigations into anticompetitive practices in the construction industry and encouraged its affected members to cooperate fully. This comes after the commission offered a... 

Aveng claims ‘ongoing cooperation’ with competition body

By: Terence Creamer     3rd February 2011 Engineering and construction group Aveng, whose subsidiaries were named by the Competition Commission this week as being among several construction companies to have participated in bid rigging and collusion, said on Thursday that it was in “ongoing cooperation” with the authorities to root out... 

Construction bid rigging probed, firms asked to come clean 

By: Christy van der Merwe     1st February 2011 The Competition Commission on Tuesday invited construction companies to engage in a “fast track settlement” of Competition Act contraventions relating to bid-rigging for projects in the public and private sectors. The Commission is already investigating 65 bid-rigging cases in the construction... 

Supermarkets cleared in Competition Commission probe

By: Petronel Smit     27th January 2011 The Competition Commission has cleared South Africa’s major supermarkets of price fixing, but it has flagged some “competition concerns”. The investigation concluded that there was insufficient evidence to show contraventions of the Competition Act pertaining to abuse of buyer power, category... 

Gordhan, Patel come to terms on Pioneer fine, open door to future earmarks

By: Terence Creamer     30th November 2010 Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel have resolved differences over the flow of the R500-million in fines arising from the so-called ‘Pioneer settlement’, while also opening the door for the Competition Commission to stipulate, or earmark, how penalties... 

Tribunal imposes maximum penalty on concrete pipes cartel member

By: Loni Prinsloo     29th November 2010 South Africa’s Competition Tribunal on Monday imposed the maximum penalty allowed in the Competition Act on a member of a cartel in the concrete pipes industry. This was the first time that the Tribunal had imposed a penalty calculated on the basis of the total turnover of a company. Southern... 

Plastic pipes firm in R7m cartel settlement

By: Loni Prinsloo     24th November 2010 The Competition Tribunal on Wednesday confirmed a settlement agreement between the Competition Commission and Swan Plastics, whereby the company agreed to pay a R7-million penalty for its involvement in a pipe cartel. This followed on a Competition Commission investigation into collusive... 

Pioneer agrees to anti-competitive reparations worth R1bn 

By: Christy van der Merwe     2nd November 2010 Food producer Pioneer Foods has agreed to pay reparations worth a combined R1-billion for anti-competitive behaviour, including fines totalling R445-million - the largest penalty ever imposed on a single company. In a settlement described as "groundbreaking" by Competition Commissioner Shan... 

Commission refers and settles polymers collusion

By: Natasha Odendaal     22nd October 2010 The South African Competition Commission has referred, in August 2010, its complaints of excessive pricing of polypropylene and propylene in the domestic South African market against Sasol Chemical Industries (SCI) and of price fixing in respect of polypropylene, against SCI and polyethylene... 

Plastic pipes cartel hearing postponed to 2011

     27th September 2010 The Competition Tribunal has adjourned the hearing of DPI Plastics for its alleged involvement in a polyvinylchloride and high-density polyethylene pipe products collusion case to next year. The hearing had been scheduled to be completed by September 23, but would now continue on January 17 and... 

Competition Commission recommends R24bn NTT-DiData deal

By: Creamer Media Reporter      20th September 2010 South Africa’s Competition Commission has recommended that the Competition Tribunal approve the merger between Japanese telecommunications operator Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corporation (NTT) and South African information technology services provider Dimension Data (DiData), without... 

Cartel in tyre industry uncovered

By: Sapa     6th September 2010 The Competition Commission investigation has uncovered a cartel in the tyre manufacturing industry, it said on Monday. In a statement, the commission said it had referred a complaint of collusive tendering, price fixing, information exchange and market allocation to the Competition Tribunal. 

SA's antitrust authorities show way in exclusionary-abuse cases, expert claims

By: Terence Creamer     2nd September 2010 South Africa's competition authorities were striking a healthier balance in dealing with cases of exclusionary abuses by dominant companies than was currently the case in either the US or the European Union (EU), a leading international competition economist has argued. Speaking at the fourth... 

Commission seeks penalty for scrap traders facing collusion charges

By: Loni Prinsloo     26th August 2010 South Africa's Competition Commission on Thursday requested that the Competition Tribunal impose a 10% of yearly turnover penalty on eight of the 13 scrap merchants accused of collusion. The scrap metals traders face allegations that they colluded to set prices, divide the markets, and fix... 

Tribunal withdraws charges against First Uranium accountant

By: Chanel de Bruyn     19th August 2010 South Africa’s Competition Tribunal announced on Thursday that it had withdrawn a criminal charge against Rory Cole, a financial accountant of First Uranium, for failing to respond to a summons issued by the tribunal. Last week, the tribunal laid a charge with the South African Police Service... 

Tribunal lays charges against First Uranium accountant

By: Chanel de Bruyn     16th August 2010 In the first incident of its kind, South Africa’s Competition Tribunal has laid a criminal charge against a person for not adhering to a summons issued by it. The tribunal on Monday announced that it had, on August 13, laid a charge with the South African Police Service (SAPS) against Rory Cole,... 

Excessive pricing to come under spotlight again as Sasol faces polymer charge

By: Terence Creamer     12th August 2010 Lingering doubts about what constitutes excessive pricing in the South African context could finally be resolved, following a decision by the Competition Commission to refer complaints of collusion and excessive pricing against Sasol in the polymers market to the Competition Tribunal for... 

Recession, rand exact heavy toll on Foskor

By: Terence Creamer     5th August 2010 South African phosphate rock miner and fertiliser producer Foskor reported a sharp fall in revenue and earnings for the year ended March 31, 2010, on the back of a recession-linked pullback in prices and demand, as well as lower production and a strong appreciation of the rand against the US... 

Tribunal rejects kulula.com objections to 1time complaint amendment  

By: Loni Prinsloo     2nd August 2010 South Africa's Competition Tribunal said on Monday that airliner kulula.com's objection to 1time's application for amendments to its complaint to the Tribunal was without merit. Last week, the Tribunal granted 1time leave to amend a complaint referral to include a contravention of the... 

No Iata involvement in air cargo collusion case

By: Sapa     30th July 2010 The International Air Transport Association (Iata) in Geneva is not involved in the South African Competition Commission's inquiry into cases of collusion in the cargo carriage market. "That the airlines involved in the Commission's inquiry are members of Iata does not and should no imply any... 

Eight air-cargo carriers fingered for long-running collusion

By: Creamer Media Reporter      29th July 2010 South Africa's Competition Commission confirmed on Thursday that it had referred eight air-cargo carriers to the Competition Tribunal for alleged collusive behaviour that had endured for a ten-year period, from 1996 to 2006. The companies face allegations of fixing the price of the fuel... 

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