Commission hits Astral with R16m fine

Astral Foods has been fined R16.3 million by the Competition Commission for colluding with a competitor to fix the price of fresh poultry in the Western Cape.

The company said the fine was 3 percent of its County Fair division’s fresh poultry revenue in the Western Cape for the 2008 financial year.

Astral also admitted that the terms of its joint venture with Elite were an abuse of dominance and had an exclusionary effect undermining Country Bird’s ability to compete.

It has promised not to engage in any conduct that contravenes the Competition Act, to co-operate with the commission in any ongoing investigations and to submit its pricing data to the SA Poultry Association via third party statisticians. Astral shares climbed 1.42 percent to close at R108.24 on the JSE yesterday. – Nompumelelo Magwaza