PRETORIA, South Africa (Nov. 22, 2011)—Apollo Tyres Ltd.'s subsidiary in South Africa has admitted to price fixing and paid a $5.4 million fine.
The Indian company's Apollo Tyres South Africa division settled with the South Africa Competition Commission after admitting it took part in a cartel that involved major tire manufacturers agreeing on pricing and price increases. Operations of Goodyear, Continental A.G., Bridgestone Corp. and the South African Tire Manufacturers Conference (Pty.) Ltd. also were investigated by the commission, which turned the results of its probe over to the Competition Tribunal for adjudication.
Bridgestone South Africa (Pty) Ltd. asked for and received conditional immunity by the commission. The other subsidiaries involved are Goodyear South Africa (Pty) Ltd. and Continental Tire South Africa (Pty) Ltd.
The penalty Apollo Tyres South Africa has agreed to pay represents 4.75 percent of its 2008 sales.
The commission's investigation revealed the cartel operated during from 1999 to at least 2007. The tire manufacturers agreed on price increases, timing of price increases and their implementation, and used their trade association as a platform to conduct the discussions, the report said.
The cartel concerned the manufacture and supply of passenger tires, light truck/commercial tires, truck and bus tires, off the road, agricultural and earthmover tires in South Africa. The main customers of these products are tire dealers who purchase tires for resale to consumers, vehicle manufacturers who purchase tires for new vehicle models, and the government, which procures tires for state-owned vehicles and fleets through a tender process managed by the State Tender Board.