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Competition Commission sets it sights on alleged collusive behaviour in beef industry

The Completion Commission on Wednesday morning raided 13 premises belonging to seven meat suppliers in three provinces as part of an ongoing investigation into the alleged fixing of prices and trading conditions.

The search and seizure operations were conducted at Karan Beef, Sparta Foods, Chalmar Beef, Beefmaster Kimberley, Morgan Beef, Beefcor and Fabvleis, over alleged contraventions of the Competition Act.

The companies – operating from Gauteng, the Free State and Northern Cape – are meat suppliers that buy weaner calves from farmers and bulk feed them in preparation for slaughtering in the production of beef. They also sell beef to wholesale and retail customers.

The meat suppliers are alleged to have entered into an agreement or to have engaged in concerted practices to fix the prices and trading conditions when buying weaner calves from farmers.

The companies are also alleged to have an agreement to fix the prices at which they sell meat to wholesale and retail customers.

“The meat industry forms an important part of the food sector, which is one of the commission’s priority sectors. We remain committed to fighting collusion in the food sector as a whole, as higher prices of food affect the most vulnerable and poor households who spend a disproportionately high percentage of their income on food,” the commission said in a statement.

The commission obtained search and seizure warrants from the High Court Gauteng Division, in Pretoria; the Northern Cape Division, in Kimberley; and the Free State Division, in Bloemfontein, in terms of Section 46 of the Competition Act.

Source : Engineering News