South Africa’s Competition Commission has recommended the maximum penalty in a price-fixing case spanning decades that involves six companies including Chevron Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Total SA.
The regulator, which has referred the matter to the Competition Tribunal for adjudication, wants the companies to be fined 10 percent of their revenues in the preceding financial year, it said in a statement today.
The investigation “revealed collusive conduct through extensive exchanges of commercially sensitive information by the respondent oil companies,” which also include Engen Ltd., Sasol Ltd., BP SA and the South African Petroleum Industry Association, or Sapia, the Pretoria-based commission said.
The companies exchanged detailed sales volumes of gasoline, diesel and other fuels, allowing them to “align their strategies in the market,” according to the statement. High profit margins were maintained through the sharing of information that started in the late 1980s and largely went through through Sapia from 2005, the investigation found.
The referral is confined to the production, marketing and distribution of diesel and commercial sales of the fuel. The commission is still investigating the respondents in other product categories.