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South African glass companies fixed prices, state eyes fine

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Staff writer ▼ | April 10, 2013
Glass South AfricaCompanies engaged in cartel activity in the glass manufacturing industry in South Africa face prosecution by the Competition Tribunal after an investigation by the Competition Commission.

The commission's investigation started almost three years ago showed that Glass South Africa, National Glass, Northern Hardware and Glass, Furman Glass, McCoy's Glass and AF-FSL Glass fixed minimum selling prices. They also fixed the percentage by which minimum prices would increase and the date for the implementation of the fixed prices, writes BDlive. The cartel allegedly operated in Gauteng, the Free State and the Western Cape.

The products involved included float glass necessary for the manufacturing of windows, laminated glass which is a type of safety glass used in automobile windshields and skylight glazing, and toughened glass which crumbles into granular chunks and is used in passenger vehicle windows, shower doors, refrigerator trays and various types of plates and cookware.

Knowledge of the cartel, which existed from 1995 to 2007, surfaced four years ago when cartel member AF-FSL Glass applied for leniency from prosecution by providing information of the "boys club". According to the information supplied, cartel meetings took place in hotels, pubs and even on boat trips to Zimbabwe to fix prices, share markets and to fix trading conditions among cartel members.

The commission's investigation showed that cartel members also agreed in 2005 to introduce a distribution or transport levy of 3% of the price charged to customers. AF-FSL was granted immunity from prosecution. The commission has asked the tribunal to impose fine of 10% of the annual turnover on each of the companies involved.

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