Carter Holt fined for price fixing

Last updated 13:58 26/03/2014

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Carter Holt Harvey, owned by rich-lister Graeme Hart, has been formally fined $1.85 million for what a High Court judge describes as a ''classic case of price fixing''.

At the High Court at Auckland today Justice Geoffrey Venning confirmed the fine following action brought by the Commerce Commission tackling arrangements made in late 2012 between Carter Holt and rival Fletcher Distribution.

Both parties agreed to charge only costs plus an 8 per cent margin for the supply of structural timber to commercial customers in Auckland.

Fletcher Distribution, operating Placemakers, reported the scheme to the Commerce Commission in January 2013 under a cartel leniency program.

Former Carter Holt manager Dean Dodds, was also fined $5,000.

Both Dodds and Carter Holt, who participated in the cartel through Carters, had co-operated with the investigation and admitted breaching the Commerce Act.

Kate Morrison, the Commerce Commission's general manager for competition, said the penalty was a necessary deterrent.

''Cartels have the potential to cause real harm to consumers by increasing prices and creating fewer choices. We are pleased that Carter Holt and Dodds accepted their role in the conduct early,'' she said. 

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- Fairfax Media

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