JOHANNESBURG, July 13 – The Competition Commission on Thursday said that the third and last company in the Western Cape brick cartel, uncovered a few years ago, has settled after admitting to cartel conduct.
The Commission said Cape Brick has agreed to allocating customers and fixing prices in the masonry brick market in the Western Cape, in contravention of the Competition Act.
Cape Brick is the longest running manufacturer of quality concrete masonry in operation in the Cape as it was established in 1938.
In a settlement agreement with the Commission, Cape Brick agreed to pay a R300,000 fine and to implement a competition law compliance programme.
This matter dates back to 2012, when the Commission launched an investigation against Cape Brick, Columbia DBL, and Inca Concrete Products.
The investigation revealed that the companies, being competitors in the market for brick manufacturing, had agreed to fix prices and to allocate customers of concrete and masonry products to each other.
The Commission said Cape Brick, Columbia DBL and Inca drew up and regularly exchanged customer lists, indicating their preferred customers.
The Commission said the three companies would then formulate a final customer list which indicated which customer belonged to which firm.
The list was regularly updated. In order to sustain the arrangement, the companies also agreed on prices they would quote customers allocated to each of them.
The Commission said this was done to ensure that each firm would supply its allocated customers.
Columbia DBL was granted conditional immunity in terms of the Commission’s Corporate Leniency Policy in 2013. In that same year, the company was liquidated.
In November 2014, Inca settled its conduct with the Commission and paid a fine of R800,000.
– African News Agency (ANA)