Aveng to pay R128,9m collusion fine

Construction company Aveng will pay a fine of R128,9-million relating to two cartels in the wire mesh and rebar business, the Competition Commission said on Wednesday.

The commission said in a statement it “… has also settled with Aveng (Africa) Ltd on two cartels in wire mesh and reinforcing steel bar in which its Steeldale subsidiary was involved”.

Aveng will, in terms of its settlement, pay an administrative penalty of R128,9-million.

This was equivalent to 8% of Steeldale’s annual turnover for the 2008 financial year.

Aveng must also cooperate with the commission in its prosecution of the other companies involved.

Last year, Aveng had to pay a fine of R21,9-million relating to anti-competitive practices in its roof bolt division, Duraset.

The commission had also referred a collusive conduct case involving pilings to the Competition Tribunal.

The commission said it “has today referred a case of collusive conduct in pilings and related activities, which are a crucial component of many large construction projects”.

The case of collusive tendering, price fixing and market allocation in the pilings market was against Grinaker-LTA (an operating group of Aveng), Esorfranki, Rodio Geotechnics Dura Soltanche Bachy, Geomechanics and Diabor.

Grinaker-LTA had applied for and was granted conditional immunity, so the commission was not seeking a penalty against it.

However, it wanted a penalty of 10% of annual turnover for the other implicated firms.

“In terms of formal arrangements among themselves the respondents allocated tenders/customers/projects between themselves and fixed tender prices,” the commission said.

The collusion may have taken place on the Moses Mabhida Stadium piling project, the Coega Harbour diaphragm wall project, the Gautrain, and the Lesotho Highlands Water project. — Sapa

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