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DURBAN – Ominia Holdings’ indirect subsidiary, Omnia Fertilizer, has agreed to pay an administrative penalty of R30 million to the Competition Act. 

This comes after Omnia Fertilizer concluded a settlement agreement with the Competition Commission in May 28 in relation to the complaint regarding the supply of fertiliser that was referred by Nutri-Flo to the commission in November 2003. 

On Friday the Competition Tribunal confirmed the settlement agreement in which Omnia Fertilizer agreed to pay an administrative penalty in full and final settlement of this case and all related litigation.

The Competition Commission said it welcomed the decision of the Competition Tribunal to confirm as an order a settlement agreement reached with Omnia Fertilizer.

The agreement follows an admission by the fertiliser producer that between 1998 and 2005, its Nitrochem division fixed prices and allocated markets in the fertiliser market in contravention of the Competition Act. 

Omnia said that its board also welcomed the resolution of this matter.

The commission said that in 2003 Nutri-Flo CC and Nutri-Fertilizer CC complained to it that Sasol Chemical Industries was involved in anti-competitive conduct. 

There were also allegations of collusive conduct against Omnia and its Nitrochem business.

The commission investigated and it subsequently discovered that there was an arrangement so that Sasol became the exclusive supplier of limestone ammonia nitrate (LAN) to the wholesale market.

It also found that there were arrangements to fix the prices of LAN and other fertilisers as well as allocating customers, suppliers and volumes.

In May 2005, Sasol, Yara South Africa and Omnia were charged with market allocation and price fixing.

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