Fire control companies fined for price fixing and collusion

2017-06-26 22:26
Firefighters.  (File, AFP)

Firefighters. (File, AFP)

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Johannesburg – Two out of seven fire control companies have agreed to pay penalties, following an investigation, after allegations of cartel conduct on their part from 1996 to 2015, the Competition Commission said in a statement on Monday.

In March, seven fire control and protection systems companies were referred by the Competition Commission to the Competition Tribunal after their investigation found that, between 1996 and 2015, the companies fixed prices, divided markets, and employed collusive tactics when bidding for tenders to install the systems in both new and old buildings.

This was contrary to the Competition Act, said Sipho Ngwema, Head of Communications at the Competition Commission of South Africa, in a statement.

"The fire companies concluded bilateral and multilateral collusive agreements which were implemented by exchanging cover quotes, sharing of bills of quantities and exchanging of prices through telephone, faxes, emails and occasional meetings," said Ngwema.

Two companies, Fireco Gauteng (Pty) Ltd (Fireco Gauteng) and Afrion Property Services CC (Afrion), have admitted to engaging in cartel conduct, and have reached a settlement with the Commission, also agreeing to help the commission with the prosecution of the other respondents - Belfa, Cross Fire, Fire Protection Systems, Fireco and Tshwane Fire Sprinklers.

The companies, which provide expertise in supplying, installing and maintaining fire control and protection systems in South Africa and the continent, also had a mutual agreement to not bid competitively for tenders issued by customers as a way of showing 'respect'.

Fireco Gauteng has agreed to pay an administrative penalty of R909 000, while Afrion has agreed to pay R327 000. 

Read more on:    competition commission  |  johannesburg ­  |  corruption

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