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SOUTH AFRICA: Sasol Accused of Polymer Price Fixing by Regulators

by Carli LourensBusiness Week
August 16th, 2010

Sasol Ltd., the biggest producer of motor fuels made from coal and gas, was accused of price fixing in the polymer market by South Africa’s Competition Commission, which recommended a fine of 10 percent of annual sales.

The company “charged excessive prices for polypropylene and propylene to its local customers,” the commission said in a statement today. Sasol spokeswoman Jacqui O’Sullivan said by phone that the company is preparing a statement in response.

Sasol already agreed this year to pay 251 million rand ($34 million) and sell five fertilizer blending plants after breaking anti-cartel rules. In 2008, it was fined 318 million euros ($407 million) by the European Union for its part in a wax cartel. South African authorities are probing other company operations after Sasol held a voluntary review of its antitrust compliance.

The commission said it began the latest probe because of government concerns about “polymer pricing and its negative effect on diversified growth and employment in manufacturing.” Safripol Ltd. admitted to fixing prices with Sasol and agreed to pay a penalty of 16.5 million rand, the regulator said.

Sasol fell as much as 1.4 percent to 283.95 rand in Johannesburg, and traded at 288.22 as of 1:18 p.m. The company had sales of 138 billion rand in the year ended June 30, 2009.

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