Tribunal dismisses complaint against Gralio Precast
Today the Competition Tribunal dismissed the complaint that Gralio Precast (Pty) Ltd (‘Gralio’) was a member of a cartel in the concrete pipes industry in KwaZulu Natal stating that “Gralio has not been shown to have been party to an agreement or concerted practice” and that “Grallio’s actions were diametrically opposed to the consensus of the cartel”. Gralio, a manufacturer of precast concrete products from a facility located at Verulam in KwaZulu Natal, denied that it participated in any activities of the cartel in KwaZulu Natal and said that it was unaware of the cartel until the Commission made contact with it in the course of its investigation against the other players in the market.
This matter concerns an allegation by the Competition Commission that Gralio participated, together with a number of other companies operating in the field of precast concrete products, in a cartel which engaged in inter alia price fixing, division of markets, and collusive tendering, in contravention of Sections 4(1)(b)(i),(ii), and (iii) of the Competition Act. In the original case brought by the Commission there were a number of respondents including Gralio. This matter relates to the same case as the matters against Southern Pipeline Contractors (SPC) and Conrite Walls in which the Tribunal today imposed penalties of respectively 10% and 8% of total turnover.
This judgment followed the Competition Commission’s one year investigation of the concrete pipes industry in which it uncovered a cartel that had operated in the construction industry from 1973 to 2007 - in the market for the manufacturing of pre-cast concrete products such as concrete pipes, culverts, pre-cast manholes and concrete sleepers at both national and regional levels. The Commission initiated this investigation after it received a leniency application from Rocla in which Rocla confessed its role in the cartel and undertook to give the Commission all the information it needed to successfully prosecute the remaining 8 members of the cartel, in exchange for immunity from prosecution. Gralio allegedly was one of these eight members. In February 2009, the Commission concluded its investigation and referred the case to the Tribunal for prosecution.
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