COMPETITION COMMISSION STATEMENT ON UNILEVER AND SIME DARBY

     (The following press release from the Competition Commission was received  by e-mail. The sender verified the statement.)  Today, the Competition Commission (the Commission) is conducting a search and  seizure operation at the offices of Unilever South Africa (Pty) Ltd in Durban,  Kwa-Zulu Natal and Sime Darby Hudson & Knight (Pty) Ltd in Boksburg,  Johannesburg  The search and seizure operation forms part of the Commission's ongoing  investigation into collusive conduct in the markets for the manufacture and  supply of edible oils and margarine to wholesale and retail customers. The  Commission has reasonable grounds to believe that information relevant to this  investigation is in the possession of employees of the two companies.  The Commission is conducting the operation with due regard to the rights  of both Unilever SA and Sime Darby and all the affected persons. During the  search the Commission will seize documents and electronic data, which will be  analysed together with other information gathered to determine whether a  contravention of the Competition Act has taken place.  In terms of section 48 of the Competition Act, the Commission is  authorised to enter and search premises and seize documents which have a  bearing on an investigation. The Commission duly obtained warrants authorizing  it to search the offices of Sime Darby and Unilever SA from the North Gauteng  High Court and the Pietermaritzburg High Court respectively.  The Acting Commissioner, Tembinkosi Bonakele said, "The Commission  believes that the information that will be obtained from today's operation will  enable the Commission to determine whether or not   Unilever SA and Sime Darby  have indeed engaged in collusive conduct. However, as part of any  investigation, we also wish to urge anyone, be it business or individuals with  further information to come forward and assist the Commission in concluding  this investigation." ends    
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