The Competition Commission has referred leading spark plug maker, NGK Spark Plug Company and its South African subsidiary, to the Competition Tribunal for price fixing, market division and collusive tendering. Photo: File
The Competition Commission has referred leading spark plug maker, NGK Spark Plug Company and its South African subsidiary, to the Competition Tribunal for price fixing, market division and collusive tendering. Photo: File

NGK referred to Competition Tribunal on price-fixing allegations

By Edward West Time of article published Jul 23, 2021

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THE COMPETITION Commission has referred leading spark plug maker, NGK Spark Plug Company and its South African subsidiary, to the Competition Tribunal for price fixing, market division and collusive tendering.

The commission said yesterday that it was seeking an order from the tribunal to levy an administrative penalty equivalent to 10 percent of the annual turnover of either NGK, or its local subsidiary NGK SA.

NGK is a global player in the market for the manufacture and supply of spark plugs to vehicle manufacturers.

The commission investigated the company as part of its probe into 63 automotive components manufacturers, which are alleged to have colluded in 310 separate instances involving 92 automotive components.

The commission’s investigation found that from at least the year 2008, NGK colluded with Denso when responding to a Request for Quotation by Fuji Heavy Industries, for the supply of spark plugs for AR18 engines installed in its Subaru Impreza, Subaru Forester and Subaru Legacy vehicles sold in South Africa, in contravention of the Competition Act.

The commission launched investigations into price-fixing, market division and collusive tendering in the market for the manufacture and supply of automotive components supplied to vehicle manufacturers in 2013.

Last year in July, Toyoda Gosei, the Japanese maker of car safety-system products, including airbags, signed a settlement agreement with the commission to pay a R6.16 million penalty for price-fixing, dividing markets and collusive tendering.

That settlement followed a commission investigation into collusive conduct by manufacturers of global car safety-system products, which supply airbags, seat belts and steering wheels to companies including Volkswagen, BMW, Toyota, Honda, Peugeot and Daimler AG.

The investigation found that Toyoda had colluded with Takata and Autoliv in respect of two separate requests for quotes by Toyota for airbags for its Yaris and Auris models.

Autoliv admitted last year to being guilty of 15 of the prohibited practices, including price-fixing, market division, collusive tendering and/or exchanging commercially sensitive information with its competitors, including TRW Automotive, Takata, Toyoda and Tokai Rika.

The commission also referred 17 collusive tendering, price-fixing and market division charges against Takata Corporation and its local arm, Takata South Africa, last year to the tribunal for prosecution.

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