Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Price Fixers


Capitalism is all about competition , right ? Wrong , if these stories are to go by .

Four of the world's biggest glass manufacturers have been fined a total of £348.2million for illegally co-ordinating price rises. The firms are Guardian of the US, Pilkington, which is the UK unit of Nippon Sheet Glass, Saint-Gobain of France and Belgium's Glaverbel. The European Commission said the firms had raised or stabilised prices in 2004 and 2005 through illicit contacts.

Between them they control 80% of Europe's market for flat glass. Flat glass is used in products such as windows, glass doors and mirrors.

Then there was this in Canada too

Regulators have launched an investigation into allegations of price-fixing by some of the biggest makers of chocolate bars in Canada. Officials from the Canadian divisions of Nestle, Cadbury, Hershey and Mars confirmed the probe is underway.

"We can confirm that we are investigating alleged anticompetitive practices in the chocolate confectionery industry," said the Competition Bureau's John Pecman. "The volume of commerce affected here is definitely potentially in the billions of dollars per year."

And there was this in Australia , as well .

Australian airline Qantas has been fined US$61 million in the United States after it admitted price-rigging freight costs between Australia and the United States. Qantas plead guilty for its role in a price-fixing conspiracy and is the third airline to admit to wrongdoing after British Airways and Korean Air Lines in August pleaded guilty to similar charges.British Airways and Korea Air Lines were each ordered to pay fines of US$300 million for their roles in passenger and freight price fixing conspiracies. The charges say that Qantas participated in meetings, conversations and communications in the US and elsewhere to fix cargo rates on trans-Pacific routes.During the period the breaches occurred Qantas was the biggest cargo carrier between Australia and the US, earning more than $US600 million from trans-Pacific freight.

And another in the USA

A class-action lawsuit was filed against six monitor manufacturers on Tuesday, alleging the companies of being a "global cartel" involved in price-fixing of CRT monitors. The prices of CRT monitors should have fallen as technologically superior products were introduced such as LCD monitors . Instead, for almost a decade, we have seen periods of unnatural and sustained price stability, as well as inexplicable increases in the prices of CRTs . The complaint alleges collusive behavior by the manufacturers, causing the plaintiff and direct purchasers to overpay for CRT monitors.

Yet again , in Australia

Teac is the latest local company successfully prosecuted for price fixing by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) after investigations into Topfield set top boxes and Optima computers.The ACCC recently convicted another set top box manufacturer, Topfield, of similar price-fixing charges and fined the company $297,500. The owner of the brand's Australian distributor, Jai Kemp, was also personally fined over $17,000 for his involvement in the misdemeanor.Optima Computers was also prosecuted by the ACCC in December last year for resale price maintenance.According to the Current.com.au report, products sold through The Good Guys, Retravision and Leading Edge were investigated after a complaint was made to the ACCC about alleged resale price maintenance. Optima admitted it had told two of its dealers they should top discounting and raise their prices for Optima computers to Optima's recommended retail prices. The dealers were threatened with having the supply of Optima products withheld or their dealership cancelled.

And in South Africa

Bread is a basic commodity. The anti-competitive practices involving a basic commodity like bread disproportionately affects the poor. On November 12, Tiger Brands was ordered to pay a R98,7-million fine by the Competition Commission after admitting to participating in bread and milling cartels.

In France kids suffered when French trading standards office DGCCRF has called for 10 retailers and 6 manufacturers in the toy market to be fined over price-fixing. The companies under investigation include Carrefour, France's largest retail group, and Danish toy maker Lego.

Just a brief google search has produced the above recent scams . Need we go on ?

No comments:

Summer School

Summer School 2017

Summer School 2017  21st – 23rd July Fircroft College, Birmingham   These days, con...