CompCom wants Unilever charged for cartel activity – 10% of annual turnover

By Carin Smith

Johannesburg – The Competition Commission wants Unilever to pay a fine of 10% of its annual turnover in a cartel case.

A worker scans barcodes by a chiller cabinet of Flora margarine at a Sainsbury’s supermarket in London. Flora is a brand owned by consumer products company Unilever. REUTERS/Luke MacGrego

The Commission wants the Competition Tribunal to prosecute a cartel case against Unilever SA and Sime Darby Hudson Knight, it announced on Wednesday.

The Commission is seeking an order from the Tribunal declaring that Unilever and Sime Darby contravened Section 4(1)(b)(ii) of the Competition Act as well as an order declaring Unilever liable for payment of an administrative penalty equal to 10% of its annual turnover.

This follows an investigation by the Commission, which found that Unilever and Sime Darby divided markets by allocating specific types of products and customers goods in the market for the manufacturing and supply of bakery and cooking products throughout South Africa. This conduct contravenes the Competition Act.

The Commission said in a statement that its investigation found that from at least 2004 to 2013 Unilever and Sime Darby entered into a sale of business agreement, which contained a clause in terms of which they agreed not to compete with each other in respect of certain pack sizes of margarine and edible oils.

Sime Darby settled with the Commission in 2016.

“Food and agro-processing is an important focus area for the Competition Commission, and we are determined to root out exploitation of consumers by cartels that are so prevalent in this sector,” said the Commissioner of the Competition Commission, Tembinkosi Bonakele. – Fin24


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