Watchdog fines Sasol for excessive prices

Cape Town - Local competition authorities on Thursday fined petrochemical group Sasol 534 million rand for charging domestic customers excessive prices for chemicals between 2004 and 2007.

The Competition Tribunal said in a statement that Sasol unit Sasol Chemical Industries (SCI) had charged plastics manufacturer Safripol too much for purified propylene, preventing effective competition and causing Safripol harm.

A Sasol garage is pictured in this file photo byBongiwe Mchunu. Credit: INDEPENDENT MEDIA

The Tribunal imposed a penalty of 205.2 million rand in the case of purified propylene and 328.8 million rand for polypropylene.

Purified propylene is necessary for the production of polypropylene.

Both are key ingredients for the plastic industry and were used in plastic goods such as buckets and motor car parts.

The tribunal also imposed guidelines to ensure that SCI in future lowered the price it was charging local customers for the two products.

The hearing relating to SCI began in May last year after the competition commission lodged a complaint against the company.

On Thursday, the tribunal said the excessive prices charged during the time period investigated had created a “missed opportunity” for promoting locally produced plastic goods. - Reuters and Sapa