Senate to release findings on cement competition

Senate to release findings on cement competition
Published: 26 August 2005

A sub-commission named by Colombia’s senate to investigate claims that cement giants Cemex, Holcim and Argos are restricting competition in the domestic market is set to present its findings in two weeks, a Cementos Andinos official told reporters. Cementos Andinos has accused its three big rivals, who control 91 per cent of the market, of selling their products at artificially low prices to damage smaller competitors.  "The details are in the hands of the trade and industry supervisory authority, but the strongest evidence is that prices have fallen from 21,000 pesos [US$9.11] per 50kg sack to just 7,000 pesos in nine months," said the company official. "The evidence is very difficult for them to refute, the source said. "These are some of the lowest prices in Latin America," he added.

Despite the fact that such cases can take up to three years to resolve, which could be too long for smaller companies to survive, the senate sub-commission has said that it will issue its findings in two weeks.

The case has a specific precedent in Colombia, as in 1999 "the trade and industry regulatory authority found Cemex, Holcim and Argos guilty of monopolist practices and manipulation of prices," said the company official. "We are very confident," said the source, when asked whether Cementos Andinos believed it would eventually win the case.