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Watchdog fines construction firms R1.5bn

Companies

Johannesburg - South Africa's competition watchdog said on Monday it would fine 15 construction firms a total of 1.46 billion rand ($143 million) to settle a multi-year investigation into bid-rigging.

The firms, which include industry leaders Aveng Ltd, Murray & Roberts and Wilson Bayly Homes Ovcon, had agreed to cooperate with the Competition Commission in exchange for lighter fines.

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File picture: Sxc.hu

Murray & Roberts, the country’s biggest construction company by market value, was fined 309 million rand while Aveng, the second-biggest builder, will pay 307 million rand, Competition Commissioner Shan Ramburuth told reporters in Pretoria today.

Wilson Bayly Holmes-Ovcom was fined 311 million rand and Stefanutti Stocks 307 million rand.

Group Five was among three companies yet to agree to a settlement.

“It is the biggest collective fine” given to companies in South Africa, Ramburuth said.

Antitrust regulators identified 300 cases of illegal or irregular behavior by companies that won contracts worth a combined 47 billion rand, including those to build stadiums for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said on May 7.

The price fixing affected both public and private sector contracts, Patel told reporters today.

Shares of Murray & Roberts jumped 2.8 percent, while Aveng gained 2.1 percent and Wilson Bayly was flat.

Shares of Group Five fell 2.1 percent to 36.22 rand. The broad All-share index was down 2 percent. - Reuters and Bloomberg

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