South African cement producer Afrisam has concluded a settlement agreement with the Competition Commission in which it admitted that it took part in a cement cartel and agreed to pay an administrative penalty of R125 million. The penalty represents 3% of its previous year's cement turnover in the South African Customs Union region. According to the commission, the settlement is a reflection of Afrisam's material cooperation in uncovering and providing further information on the cartel conduct.
The settlement agreement follows the commission launching an investigation into allegations of price fixing and market allocation in 2008 by four main cement producers (Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC), Lafarge, Afrisam and Natal Portland Cement Cimpor (NPCC)). During this investigation, the commission raided the premises of the four cement producers in 2009.
Afrisam admitted that it had entered into agreements with PPC, Lafarge and NPCC in order to divide markets and indirectly fix the cement price. The settlement also confirmed information already provided by PPC, which had previously applied for and was granted conditional leniency.
Afrisam also agreed to refrain from further engaging in this conduct and to develop and implement a compliance programme for all of its employees. The commission is in the advanced stages of this investigation and will now look at concluding it with Afrisam's and PPC's cooperation.
The settlement is subject to confirmation by the Competition Tribunal.
For further information on this topic please contact Desmond Rudman at Webber Wentzel by telephone (+27 11 530 5000), fax (+27 11 530 5111) or email ([email protected]).