Alleged collusion case against NPC referred to tribunal
South Africa’s Competition Commission has referred a case of alleged indirect price fixing and market division against Natal Portland Cement Cimpor (NPC) to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution.
The referral followed the commission’s investigation, between 2008 and 2012, of alleged collusive conduct in the cement sector against NPC, PPC, Lafarge and AfriSam.
PPC had been granted conditional leniency in terms of the commission’s corporate leniency policy, while AfriSam had settled with the commission and agreed to pay an administrative penalty of R128.85-million.
Lafarge had also settled with the commission and agreed to pay an administrative penalty of R148.72-million.
The commission found that the four cement producers had agreed to collude and divide the cement market by allocating market shares and indirectly fixing the price of cement prior the end of the legal cartel in 1996. It said the producers subsequently reinforced these collusive arrangements through a series of other agreements, which NPC’s representatives were party to, including exchanging competitively sensitive sales data through the Cement and Concrete Institute.
The commission was seeking a maximum penalty of 10% of NPC’s yearly turnover and a tribunal order that NPC contravened the Competition Act.
“The commission’s recent study also found that the cement cartel cost the South African economy billions in price overcharges,” said Commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele.