The Competition Tribunal has fined one of the biggest wood-based panel manufacturers more than R46 million for price-fixing and collusive conduct. File Image: IOL
The Competition Tribunal has fined one of the biggest wood-based panel manufacturers more than R46 million for price-fixing and collusive conduct.

The tribunal yesterday confirmed a settlement agreement with Sonae Arauco, which was penalised R46 944 495.

In 2016, the commission initiated an investigation in terms of the Competition Act against PG Bison and Sonae Arauco, after price-fixing allegations surfaced.

A search-and-seizure operation was conducted at the companies’ premises where electronic and hardcopy evidence was collected.

The commission’s investigation found that from 2012 to 2016, these companies would frequently meet to fix selling prices and increases.

The commission found the respondent had entered into a collusive agreement in terms of which they engaged and agreed on the prices they would charge for wood-based panel products, including raw board, particle board and melamine.

PG Bison has changed its name to KAP Diversified Industrial (Pty) Ltd.

Sonae Arauco and PG Bison are competitors in the manufacturing of wood-based panel products that include medium-density fibreboard.

Meanwhile, the commission has approved a proposed merger, without conditions, whereby Denso Corporation (Denso) intends to acquire SMSA.

Denso is a global manufacturer of automotive parts and technologies that operates through Smiths Manufacturing (Pty) Ltd.

SMSA is a private limited liability profit company.

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