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Commerce Commission initiates legal action

Issued 27 April 2004-05 / 122

Commerce Commission initiates legal action against alleged cartel

The Commerce Commission has filed civil proceedings in the Auckland High Court against four New Zealand companies and seven executives for alleged cartel behaviour in the timber preservatives industry.

The companies are:
Koppers Arch Wood Protection (NZ) Limited;
Osmose New Zealand Limited;
TPL Limited (formerly t/a Fernz Timber Protection Limited between 1984 and Nov 1999); and
Nufarm Limited (formerly t/a Fernz Timber Protection between Dec 1999 – Jan 2001).

The Commission will not disclose the names of the seven executives until they are legally represented. The Commission has also initiated proceedings in Auckland against the related Australian based companies.

The Commission’s allegations centre on sharing prices, price fixing, collusion, and bid-rigging by the four companies during a four year period from 1998. The allegations relate to the supply of various wood preservatives, chemicals and assorted services, including CCA (Copper Chromium Arsenic), light organic solvent preservatives and boron. These products are widely used by the timber and associated industries which are important contributors to the New Zealand economy.

The Commission filed criminal charges in February in the Manukau District Court against Koppers Arch and its General Manager, Roy Parish. The charges related to alleged non-compliance with statutory notices issued under s 98 of the Commerce Act that compulsorily require the production of information and documents to the Commission. These proceedings are continuing.

ENDS

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