ERJ staff report (DS)
Johannesburg, South Africa - Three of the four tyre makers accused of colluding on pricing in South Africa have responded with guarded comments. In general, they say the formal allegations have not been presented to the alleged cartellists and so the companies cannot respond in detail, except to say that they are cooperating with the authorities.
Apollo Tyres said, "We have received notice of a referral to the Competition Tribunal of a complaint by the Competition Commission (dated 31 August 2010) alleging anti-competitive conduct by tyre manufacturers, including Apollo Tyres South Africa (Pty) Limited. We have co-operated fully with the Competition Commission investigation to date and were transparent in submitting all information as requested. We are yet to receive full details of the allegations made and are taking legal advice. As such, at this point we are not able to give any further information on the issue."
In a statement to the Mumbai Stock Exchange, however, Apollo said, "Apollo Tyres South Africa (Pty.) Ltd. is in process of defending the case at the level of Competition Tribunal by taking suitable legal advice."
Goodyear said, "We provided our full cooperation in the investigation that started in 2008 and also conducted our own internal investigation. We found no circumstances indicating there had been any wrongdoing." The company added that it has strict business conduct policies which prohibit anticompetitive activities and Goodyear remains committed to all competition regulations.
Continental declined to comment until it had clarified the legal position.
A spokesman for Bridgestone Europe said he has seen press reports, but no formal documents and was unable to make any comment.
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Stock Exchange announcement from Apollo