Murray and Roberts denies collusion allegations

Posted On Thursday, 03 September 2009 02:00 Published by Commercial Property News
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Murray & Roberts Holdings to clarify its position after having been listed by the Competition Commission as one of the participant in alleged collusion in the construction industry.

Brian Bruce Murray and Roberts Construction group Murray & Roberts Holdings on Wednesday moved to clarify its position after having been listed by the Competition Commission as an industry participant among selected others in alleged widespread collusion in the construction industry.

The construction group said: "Murray & Roberts categorically denies these allegations and statements of widespread and prevalent collusion and has lodged a formal objection with the Director General of the Department of Trade and Industry in this matter.

"The Director General has acknowledged the formal objection and has raised the matter with the Competition Commissioner."

The group said that the commission categorised its joint ventures as collusive arrangements; while also implying price manipulation on a national scale to the extent "that society is denied full, timely and affordable access to housing and essential infrastructure; all resulting in improper cost inflation such as to burden the state and economy."

Murray & Roberts also pointed to a subsequent business radio interview, where the deputy commissioner of the Competition Commission stated categorically: "The confessions we've got thus far are indicating clearly that once again this is an industry norm."

The group added that media campaign also alleged the existence of a steel producers' cartel where "there has been a long-standing culture of cooperation amongst the steel mills regarding the prices to be charged, and discounts to be offered, for their steel products".

Murray & Roberts pointed out that Cape Town Iron & Steel Works (CISCO) is a subsidiary of the group. However it denies any knowledge of such a cartel.

"The forensic investigations undertaken by Murray & Roberts consequent to the so-called "dawn raids" by the Competition Commission, indicate that if anything, CISCO is a victim of predatory pricing by the larger inland steel mills," it said.

"Murray & Roberts does not deny that in isolated instances, individuals in the group have acted fraudulently in what can be construed as collusive behaviour.

"This is the independent action of individuals for personal gain.

"The group has forensically investigated all its operations in the context of Competition Law and where such isolated irregularities have been found, it has engaged with and placed leniency markers with the Competition Commission," it concluded.

Last modified on Monday, 24 June 2013 13:11

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