February 6, 2018 / 3:02 PM / 10 months ago

South Africa's competition watchdog to prosecute four firms over Eskom tender

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 6 (Reuters) - South Africa’s competition regulator said on Tuesday it would prosecute four companies for alleged price fixing and collusion in a tender for a contract awarded by power utility Eskom worth 4.5 billion rand ($373 million).

The Competition Commission said in a statement an investigation had found evidence of “price fixing and collusive tendering” by Waco Africa, through its subsidiary SGB Cape, as well as Tedoc Industries, Mtsweni Corrosion Control and Superfecta Trading.

The four companies, which are not listed, could not immediately be reached for comment.

The investigation followed a complaint by Eskom in 2016 to the watchdog over contracts to service its fleet of 15 coal-fired power stations, which were on the verge of collapse a decade ago, threatening to plunge Africa’s most industrialised economy into darkness.

“We don’t know what the commission’s verdict will be, but in most cases these companies can be fined up to 10 percent of their annual revenue,” said Eskom spokesman Khulu Phasiwe, referring to a decision that will be made by the commission’s tribunal.

The Competition Commission was not available for comment.

Eskom recently admitted it was running out of cash for operations and repayments to creditors. It is also at the centre of investigations that its executives unduly awarded contracts to the Gupta family, friends of President Jacob Zuma.

Zuma, the Guptas and Eskom officials have denied any wrongdoing. ($1 = 12.0627 rand) (Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Mark Potter)

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