Sasol settles fertiliser price-fixing case with farmers

A group of 58 SA farmers has won a class action lawsuit against multinational energy and chemical giant Sasol.

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The farmers, assisted by TAU SA, had since 2009 been claiming compensation from Sasol for the company’s confirmed fixing of fertiliser prices between 1996 and 2004.

A statement by TAU SA said that since the Competition Tribunal had, on 20 May 2009, found Sasol guilty of uncompetitive practices in the fertiliser market, the farmers’ union had encouraged farmers who had been negatively affected by Sasol’s actions to seek financial compensation from the company.

“The parties involved in this case committed themselves to a confidentiality agreement which includes the final [compensation] calculation as well as the respective amounts which each farmer received as settlement. However, it can be mentioned that TAU SA is satisfied that the settlements agreed upon were acceptable in most cases,” said TAU SA’s general manager, Bennie van Zyl, in the statement.

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TAU SA thanked Sasol for the company’s “ongoing contribution to agriculture” and also for its “professional manner” in approaching and settling the lawsuit.

“Since Sasol Nitro’s settlement agreement with the Competition Commission in 2009, we have made significant progress in taking decisive measures that have contributed to the development of the South African agricultural industry,” said Sasol spokesperson, Alex Anderson.

Sasol’s constructive engagement with stakeholders in the matter had allowed the company to bring the matter to a close, Anderson also told Farmer’s Weekly.

The company had also stepped up its internal competition law compliance programme and enhanced its ethics management systems since 2009, he said.