The Competition Commission of South Africa has alleged integrated beef supplier, Beefcor Ltd, and juice producer, Cape Fruit Processors (CFP) Ltd, had agreed not to compete with each other in the processing of wet peels and citrus peel pulp, which are by-products in the manufacture of fruit juice, to produce livestock feed.
The competition watchdog claimed the two companies divided up markets by allocating customers, a move that infringes that country’s competition rules for industry.
“This agreement constitutes market division by allocating customers in contravention of section 4(1)(b)(ii) of the Competition Act, No 89 of 1998, as amended.”
The Commission claimed its investigation also showed that CFP agreed it would not sell the wet peels and citrus peel pulp to any other entity without the express written permission of Beefcor.
The regulatory authority alleged that the agreement has been in existence since 2016, and is ongoing.
It said it has referred the matter to the its Competition Tribunal for prosecution. The Commission is seeking an order that Beefcor and CFP are deemed liable and must pay an administrative penalty equivalent to 10% of their respective annual turnover in respect of the alleged violations.
Calf and beef price fixing probe
June this year also saw the South African competition watchdog conduct searches and seizures at 13 facilities located in the Gauteng, Free State and Northern Cape provinces of the country, including Beefcor, in a probe into an alleged price fixing scheme on calves and beef.
Beefcor posted a message on its Facebook page on 14 June saying it wanted to address the media reports regarding the price-fixing probe within the meat industry.
“At Beefcor, we fully believe in and support an open, fair and competitive meat market in South Africa and are fully co-operating with the Competition Commission’s investigations. As a brand, we have nothing to hide and we look forward to this matter being resolved.”