South Africa: US soda ash firms settle in cartel case

A group of US natural soda ash producers has admitted to price fixing and agreed to halt exports to South Africa, the country“s antitrust body said on 4 November 2008.
The Competition Commission sai…

A group of US natural soda ash producers has admitted to price fixing and agreed to halt exports to South Africa, the country“s antitrust body said on 4 November 2008. The Competition Commission said the American Natural Soda Ash Corporation (ANSAC) had agreed to pay a fine of ZAR 9.7 million (USD 996,900), or 8% of annual soda ash sales in South Africa, to settle the long-running cartel case. ANSAC group must stop collective exports of soda ash to Africa“s biggest economy within six months. Individual members, which include FMC Corp and a unit of Solvay, will be allowed to do direct business with South African consumers. The case commenced in 1999, when Chemserve, a unit of South African chemicals group AECI, and Botswana“s Botash filed a complaint that ANSAC and its local partner CHC Global were fixing the price of soda ash for export. The Competition Commission said in a statement that ANSAC had admitted it required members to channel sales of soda ash to South Africa through the group, which set prices and trading terms. The Commission said it found ANSAC had the same arrangement for export to any country outside the United States and Canada.