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22 November 2011 | Angeline Albert
Apollo Tyres South Africa has been fined R45
million (US$5.4 million) having admitted involvement in a cartel to fix the
price of tyres.
The company – known as Dunlop Tyres
International before being taken over – has entered into a settlement agreement
with the Competition Commission South Africa (CCSA),
where it must pay 4.75 per cent of its 2008 turnover.
The CCSA alleged the anti-competitive
practices involved a group of tyre makers agreeing pricing and price increases
between 1999 and 2007 for the manufacture and supply of tyres. These were then
bought by vehicle manufacturers and government purchasers, who bought tyres for
state-owned vehicles through the State Tender Board.
The investigation was the result of a
complaint by a fleet owner, claiming the manufacturers simultaneously adjusted
prices around the same time and within the same parameters.
Apollo agreed to settle with the CCSA after
it referred the findings of its investigation into four manufacturers – Apollo,
Goodyear South Africa,
Continental Tyre South Africa and Bridgestone South Africa
– and trade association the South African Tyre Manufacturers Conference to the
Competition Tribunal on 6 September.
Bridgestone South Africa has been granted
conditional immunity from prosecution, after admitting its involvement in the
cartel. The company said it discussed with competitors how to coordinate the
timing and average percentage price increase of tyres.
The maximum fine the Tribunal can impose on
SATMC, Goodyear and Continental, is 10 per cent of each organisation’s annual
turnover. A date for their tribunal hearing has not yet been set.
None of the organisations involved has
responded to SM’s request for