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Afrisam Admits to Being Part of Cement Cartel, Will Pay Fine

Afrisam Ltd., South Africa’s second-largest cement-maker, agreed to pay a penalty of 125 million rand ($15.4 million) after admitting to being part of a cartel, the country’s antitrust regulator said.

The fine represents about 3 percent of the closely held, Johannesburg-based company’s 2010 cement sales in the Southern African Customs Union, the Competition Commission said in a statement today.

“This settlement is a reflection of Afrisam’s material cooperation with the commission in uncovering and providing further information on the conduct,” the Pretoria-based regulator said.

The price-fixing probe against Afrisam, Pretoria Portland Cement Ltd., Lafarge SA’s local unit and Cimpor Cimentos de Portugal SGPS SA’s Natal Portland Cement division was started in June 2008. Johannesburg-based PPC, Africa’s biggest producer of the material, was given immunity from prosecution in November 2009 after agreeing to cooperate with authorities.

“In terms of the settlement, Afrisam admits that it entered into agreements and arrangements with PPC, Lafarge and NPC to divide markets and indirectly fix the price of cement,” the commission said today.

Afrisam has also agreed to “refrain from engaging in this conduct” and to implement a compliance program for all employees, the regulator said.

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