The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) yesterday fined 23 ready-mixed concrete and asphalt suppliers in Greater Tainan and Chiayi County NT$60 million (US$1.99 million) for collusion in a bid to drive up prices.
“Ready-mixed concrete and asphalt are essential materials for paving roads. The concerted action of these companies drove up prices, resulting in higher public expenses,” commission member Wu Cheng-wuh (吳成物) told reporters.
The commission fined seven companies in Chiayi between NT$500,000 and NT$6.3 million each for holding meetings and reaching an agreement to jointly raise their prices by NT$70 to NT$80 per tonne between February and March 2010; NT$80 to NT$100 per tonne in October 2010; and NT$100 per tonne in May 2011, Wu said.
The other 16 companies in Greater Tainan demanded that downstream buyers pay an additional fee of NT$200 or be forced to source their products elsewhere, Wu said.
The 16 companies were fined between NT$500,000 and 5 million each, depending on their size and whether they cooperated with the commission during the investigation, Wu said.
The 23 companies accounted for nearly 100 percent of the ready-mixed concrete and asphalt supply in Greater Tainan and Chiayi, as it is difficult to transport these products from other areas, Wu said.