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Johannesburg - Shares of South African building firms rise, bucking the wider sell-off in equities, after fines in a longstanding price-fixing probe were less than market participants had feared.

The index of construction companies rises more than 1 percent, outperforming a 2 percent drop in the broad All-share index.

South Africa's competition watchdog on Monday fined 15 firms a combined 1.46 billion rand ($143 million) for 300 cases of bid-rigging in public and private sector projects dating back to 2006.

Wilson Bayly Holmes Ovcon was handed the biggest fine of 311 million rand, or less than 2 percent of its 2012 revenue, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Shares of South Africa's third-largest construction company by value adds 1.3 percent to 151.95 rand.

Bigger rival Aveng gains 4.9 percent to 29.21 rand, while industry leader Murray & Roberts rises 3.2 percent to 25.88 rand. - Reuters