Egypt refers cement executives to court

Egypt refers cement executives to court
Published: 21 January 2008

Egypt referred 20 executives of local cement firms to a criminal court for conspiring to fix prices, state news agency MENA reported on Sunday.  
 
Executives from firms including  Suez Cement , Misr Beni Suef , Misr Qena , and  Torah Cement , will face charges in the first such case under a three-year-old anti-monopoly law, MENA quoted the public prosecutor as saying.  
 
The government had filed accusations of anti-competitive practices against the companies in October after a 14-month probe by its own investigators. 
 
The firms conspired to fix prices and market share for Portland cement between May 16, 2005 until the end of 2006, MENA quoted Egypt’s public prosecutor as saying.  
 
Rising local cement prices drove the ministry of industry to introduce an export duty on cement at 65 Egyptian pounds ($11.67) a tonne in February. It raised the duty to 85 pounds a tonne in August. 
 
Egypt sold 13 cement licences in October, raising over 2 billion Egyptian pounds, to help boost domestic supply.  
 
The government has faced criticism for rising prices after the economy grew at its fastest rate in decades in the 2006/2007 fiscal year. Consumer prices in urban areas rose 6.9 percent in the year to December, the government said earlier this month.