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Commission raids fats and oils firms in cartel probe

| Supplier news

The Competition Commission said it is conducting a search and seizure operation at five companies involved in the manufacture and distribution of refined edible oils, baking fats and margarine in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

The Commission suspects that Wilmar Continental Edible Oils and Fats, DH Brothers Industries (Willowton Oil and Cake Mills), FR Waring Holdings, Africa Sun Oil Refineries and Epic Foods have engaged in cartel conduct.

It said in a statement this cartel conduct “includes price-fixing in the market for the manufacture and distribution of refined edible oils including baking fats and margarine”.

“The alleged conduct is believed to have started before 2007 and is still on-going.”

“The search and seizure operation is conducted as part of an ongoing investigation which was initiated by the commissioner,” it said on Thursday.

“During the search the commission will seize documents, records and electronic data which will be analysed, together with other information gathered, to determine whether these companies have contravened the Competition Act.

“Food and agro-processing is an important focus area for the Competition Commission, and we are determined to root out exploitation of consumers by cartels that are so prevalent in this sector,” said Competition Commission Commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele.

“We have, in particular, been monitoring developments in the fats and oils markets and what we see is worrisome.”

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