Cement manufactures have responded to CADE’s decision to fine them for alleged price fixing. According to the Brazilian competition authority, six cement and concrete producers have been involved in anti-competitive practices and will face fines totalling R$3.1 billion as well as asset divestments. Holcim Brasil has been fined R$508 million and Cimpor has been asked to pay R$540 million and to sell 20% of its concrete production capacity in the country. Other companies subjected to sanctions under the decision include Votorantim Cimentos, Intercement Brasil, Itabira Agro Industria and Cia de Cimentos Itambé.
A number of the companies, including Holcim Brasil, Votorantim Cimentos and Cimpor, have refuted allegations of anti-competitive behaviour and reaffirimed plans to appeal the ruling. Extracts from these statements have been provided below.
‘Cimpor ethics comprehends the rigorous compliance with market practices and applicable legislation. Cimpor is firmly convinced that no infraction was committed, thus the above mentioned companies will appeal this decision.’
‘In the context of the proceeding, Holcim Brazil has always supplied all information requested. The company reinforces that it acts lawfully and in accordance with fair competition rules and practices. Holcim Brazil will pursue all available legal steps to defend its position. Holcim acts in compliance with laws, including fair competition rules and practices. The company has policies and procedures in place that are designed to ensure compliance with principles and rules of fair competition prohibiting anti-competitive behaviour and the abuse of a dominant market position. There is zero tolerance for violations. Non-compliance is subject to disciplinary sanctions up to termination of employment.’
Votorantim Cimentos also plans to appeal CADE’s decision, which it says will ‘generate uncertainty for investments in the cement sector and also in the country’s infrastructure and construction industries’. According to Votorantim, ‘the decision is unjustified’, evidence was disregarded by CADE and comprehensive knowledge of the ‘sector’s peculiarities’ was lacking. In addition, it asserts that the average price of cement in the country is lower than that of other regions with large production capacities and that, with over 15 manufacturers operating in Brazil, ‘there are no barriers’ facing new competitors in the market. The Brazilian group has confirmed that it runs rigorous compliance programmes across its operations, and says that it will continue to forge ahead with its current investment plans.
Edited from various sources by Louise Fordham
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcement.com/the-americas/04062014/cement_manufacturers_respond_to_cade_ruling_brazil_301/