National dairy processor Clover has been let off the hook for one charge by agreeing to cooperate with the Competition Commission in its investigation into alleged anti-competitive behaviour in the dairy industry.
According to a commission spokesperson, Clover has been acquitted of the charge of removing surplus milk from the market in order to push up prices.
However, the company still faces the following four charges: the exchange of information between competitors; agreeing on a price for UHT milk; exchanging milk with Nestlé; and abusing the dominance of its position by forcing farmers to sell their surplus milk when they could have received better prices by selling their surplus to smaller dealers.
“Certain practices that we believe are not in opposition to the Competition Act have now been put in a loophole, which the tribunal is looking at,” said Clover deputy CEO Manie Roode.
Clover is using international economists to help them prove their practices are not in violation of the Competition Act. – Gwenda van Zyl & Lloyd Phillips