Sasol pays ZAR 111 million for price fixing

Sasol Polymers, a division of South African petrochemicals company Sasol, has agreed to pay ZAR111 million (£10 million) to settle an investigation into price fixing. The South African competition commission says that Sasol admits ‘indirect’ price fixing through a polypropylene supply agreement with Safripol (although interestingly Sasol says only that this is the conclusion of the commission).

The penalty represents 3 per cent of the company’s 2009 sales derived from polypropylene products. Safripol has already admitted breaking competition rules and agreed to pay ZAR16.5 million, representing 1.5 per cent of its sales derived from polypropylene products. The commission alleges that Sasol charged ‘excessive’ prices for polypropylene and propylene to local customers, something the company is contesting. 

Pricing fixing is when two or more companies operating in the same market agree to buy or sell a product at a fixed price, removing market forces that might otherwise benefit their suppliers or customers. Polypropylene is a plastic polymer used in a wide range of applications.

Sanofi-Aventis extends Genzyme share offer

Sanofi-aventis has extended its offer for Genzyme shares, set a $69 (£44) per share, until 21 January 2011. Sanofi made the offer, which values the company at $18.5 billion, to Genzyme shareholders in October. It has been strongly opposed by the Genzyme board, which says it undervalues the company. 

The offer was previously set to close on 10 December 2010. All other terms and conditions of the tender offer remain unchanged. Sanofi has acquired 2.2 million shares representing just under 1 per cent of the company.

Yule Catto buys PolymerLatex for €443 million

Speciality chemical company Yule Catto has agreed to buy German company PolymerLatex for €443 million (£376 million). PolymerLatex makes emulsion polymer products, such as gloves, textiles and coatings. Yule says that the move will bring annual cost savings to the combined business of £20 million and strengthen its position in emerging markets. 

Sinochem joins DSM on anti-infectives for €210 million

Dutch life and materials sciences company DSM has signed an agreement with Chinese state-owned chemical group Sinochem on a 50-50 joint venture concerning its anti-infectives business group, best known for ß-lactam antibiotics. Sinochem Group will buy a 50 per cent equity stake in DSM Anti-Infectives for €210 million on a cash and debt-free basis. The joint venture will have its headquarters in Hong Kong and the 2000 staff already working at the DSM anti-infectives unit will be part of the new entity.

Andrew Turley

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