Tag Archive for: competition law

Money with handcuffs

Competition law compliance programme: mitigating factor or wasted expenditure?

The recent amendments to South African competition legislation lead to a sharp increase in the number of organisations requesting training for their employees on competition law. We are often asked if the investment in a competition law compliance programme is worth the time and money spent.

Sadly, in our experience, most organisations implement a competition law compliance programme for one of two reasons: 1) they have committed to doing so as part of a consent order signed with the authorities after contravening the law; and/or 2) they operate in a sector that has been identified by the authorities as one to “monitor” and their lawyers have recommended that they take precautionary steps. Few organisations seem to view the pro-active implementation of a competition law compliance programme as a non-negotiable part of good governance.

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Competition Law

Competition Commission releases Draft Guidelines on Information Exchange between Competitors

Information is integral to making informed decisions.  When conducting business, obtaining information on the market in which one competes is important to the success of a well-functioning firm.  However, when competitors share information a line can be crossed and therefore caution is required due to the risk that it may result in anti-competitive outcomes.

In line with the approach followed by other international jurisdictions, the Competition Commission has recently released draft Guidelines for comment relating to information sharing between competitors. Read more

Hot air balloons in the air

Act competitively: A Practical Guide to the South African Competition Act

Economic uncertainty appears to be the order of the day, especially on home soil, and the contest between businesses to gain market share remains challenging. We are all impacted in some way or another by this race for economic power and prosperity.

How then is it possible to strive towards a free market where businesses have equal opportunities, economic efficiency is achieved, consumers are protected and ultimately economic growth is stimulated?

The answer, in short, is a robust competition policy, which is underpinned at its foundation by sound economic policies. Read more

money paper jet plane

Follow-on damages – the new kid on the block for competition law non-compliance?

Until recently, the pecuniary risks of non-compliance with the Competition Act at a firm level involved a fine of up to 10% of a firm’s turnover, and for those guilty of cartel conduct, the risk of criminal sanctions that can take the form of fines or imprisonment.

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Competition Law

Criminal sanctions: an important weapon in the fight against cartel activity

As of 1 May 2016, competition law in South Africa will be strengthened when the criminalisation of hard core cartel activity becomes a reality.  This amendment to the Competition Act makes it an offence for company directors or persons in a position of management authority to engage in or “knowingly acquiesce” in cartel conduct and brings competition law in line with other jurisdictions such as the United States and more recently, Australia and the United Kingdom. Read more

risk street sign

What is collusion?

Any interaction between competitors, even if completely above board, will raise suspicion from competition authorities. Authorities are concerned that competitor interaction may lead to collusion that will be to the detriment of consumers.

Collusion refers to anti-competitive agreements or understandings amongst competitors to coordinate their conduct – for example agreeing to all sell at the same price or not to sell to certain customers. Instead of competing, competitors form a so-called cartel and behave like a single powerful supplier and this is almost always to the detriment of the consumer. Read more

Five charged in U.S. with stealing secrets from GlaxoSmithKline

Five people, including two former GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) researchers, were charged with a scheme to steal trade secrets from the British drugmaker for potential sale in China, according to indictments announced by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia on Wednesday.

Barclays fined $150m over forex trading by New York regulator

Barclays fined $150m over forex trading by New York regulator

Barclays’ reputation took another battering on Wednesday when a US regulator imposed a $150m fine on the bank for the way it treated its foreign exchange customers.

Antitrust risk re-assessment in newly concentrated markets: practical ways to preserve freedom from investigation

The economic literature explains that most markets tend towards oligopoly over the longer term. Markets may consolidate when winners rise to the top (thanks to efficiencies and innovation) and losers are forced to exit. Consolidation may also result from M&A activity which can be intensive, with sectors sometimes experiencing a boom of high profile acquisitions.

New Zealand: Cartel criminalisation cancelled

The government announced on December 8, 2015 that cartel conduct will not be criminalised under the proposed Commerce (cartels and other matters) Amendment Bill (known as the Cartels Bill).