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Cement institute told to delay sales figures

Apr, 06 2012

(South Africa)  -- The Competition Commission has ordered the South African Cement and Concrete Institute (C&CI) to only disseminate cementitious sales as a national, quarterly figure with a three-month delay, rather than monthly statistics.

The commission issued a directive on Tuesday prohibiting all cement producers from submitting statistics in their current form.

Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC) stated on Thursday that the national cement sales figures for March 2012 would not be released next week as was expected, while the C&CI stated that it would not be releasing any statistics until further notice.

Statistics were historically submitted by cement producers AfriSam, Lafarge Industries South Africa, Natal Portland Cement-Cimpor (NPC-Cimpor), PPC, Sephaku Cement, Ash Resources and Ulula Ash to a firm of independent auditors, which in turn made the consolidated national monthly figure available to the C&CI for distribution.

The commission previously stated that information needed to be collated and aggregated over longer time periods, such as quarterly, so that it still provided value for users but reduced its value to firms wanting to dampen competition between themselves.

The commission last year found that Afrisam, PPC, Lafarge and NPC-Cimpor submitted sales information to C&CI and used the aggregated information received from the institute as a mechanism for maintaining a cement market share cartel.

By: Natasha Odendaal

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