By David Shaw, ERJ staff)
Johannesburg, South Africa -- On Friday 4 April, the South African Competition Commission conducted a search on the premises of tyre manufacturers Dunlop Tyres International (Pty) Ltd and Bridgestone South Africa (Pty) Ltd. The Commission also searched the office of the SA Tyre Manufacturers Conference (Pty) Ltd, (SATMC) a private company, which is an association of the tyre manufacturers and is used by its members to discuss industry issues, developments and concerns.
The Commission said it seized documents from Dunlop's Durban offices and from Bridgestone and SATMC's offices, both in Johannesburg.
The Commission said it is investigating allegations of price fixing in the tyre industry, prompted by a complaint alleging that the tyre manufacturers adjust their prices around the same time and within the same parameters. The commission did not identify the complainant.
The Commission said it thinks the SATMC was the venue for â€œcoffee table discussionsâ€ to determine price increases. Co-operation amongst the tyre manufacturers is colloquially referred to as â€œcoffee table talksâ€ in the South African tyre industry, according to the Commission.
Dr Luis Ceneviz, CEO, Dunlop Tyres International said, "We are aware of the investigations being undertaken by the Competition Commission into alleged anti-competitive practices in the tyre industry, following a surprise dawn raid by Commission investigators at Dunlop's premises on Friday 4th April 2008." He added that Dunlop staff had coperated fully with all requests from the Commission staff and concluded, "Dunlop is pleased that the Competition Commission is regulating anti-competitive behaviour, which is in the interest of the South African consumer, and remains committed to upholding the relevant regulations as set out in the Competition Act."
Bridgestone issued a statement saying,Â "We confirm that the investigation has commenced by the South African authority. Bridgestone South Africa will fully cooperate with the authority."
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Website of South African competition commission