Asia Pacific

Regulator Nabs Price-fixing Companies

The Express Tribune reports that the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has uncovered a price-fixing and quota distribution cartel of power distribution equipment suppliers in relation to Rs45 billion worth of public sector contracts. Reportedly, Siemens Pakistan (Siemens), one of the 18 companies involved, admitted to its involvement in the conspiracy. According to The Express Tribune, penalties could be the higher of Rs75 million or 10% of the convicted company’s revenues. Reportedly, the show-cause notices sent by the CCP to companies suspected of price-fixing seemed to have prompted Siemens to take advantage of the leniency provisions in the law. CCP chairperson Rahat Kaunain Hassan reportedly stated that the company has been granted a full reduction in penalty with respect to its contravention of the Competition Act.

The Express Tribune: Regulatory victory: CCP breaks cartel after Siemens admits to collusion (4 April 2012)
(Source: The Express Tribune)

Penalties Sought Following Misleading Apple Advertising
Consumer Protection

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has announced that the Federal Court has accepted an undertaking from Apple Pty Ltd (Apple) in response to an application for orders by the ACCC in relation to alleged misleading conduct by Apple. The ACCC alleged that a recent Apple advertising campaign misrepresented the 4G data connectivity capability of its latest iPad device. The ACCC sought orders including injunctions, pecuniary penalties, corrective advertising and refunds to consumers affected. Apple has agreed to take certain action, including displaying a clarifying statement on its products and signage, and contacting customers who have already purchased the product. A directions hearing and mediation have been scheduled for April 2012, with a liability hearing scheduled for 2 May 2012.
ACCC’s media release #1 (27 March 2012)
ACCC’s media release #2 (28 March 2012)

Related news items:
Herald Sun: Apple to refund Australians over ‘false’ iPad 4G (28 March 2012)
The Australian: Apple has proposed a refund for buyers confused over the 4G capabilities of the new iPad (28 March 2012)
(Source: ACCC; Herald Sun; The Australian)

ACCC Publications
Competition, Consumer Protection

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has released the following publications:

(Source: ACCC)

ACCC Proposes to Authorise Corporate Airline Alliance
Competition, Consumer Protection

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has released a Draft Determination (22 March 2012), which proposes to grant authorisation to a Corporate Alliance between Virgin Australia and Skywest, for public comment. The proposed Corporate Alliance would “allow the airlines to offer bundled air passenger transport services to corporate customers who seek an integrated suite of charter, domestic and international services”. ACCC chairperson Rod Sims commented that the ACCC considers that the alliance would “promote competition … with Qantas and its affiliates”.

The grant of an ACCC authorisation “provides immunity from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the [Competition and Consumer Act 2010 1974 No. 51 (Cth)]“.

Comments on the draft determination should be sent to the ACCC by 5 April 2012.
Further information from the ACCC
ACCC’s media release (22 March 2012)
(Source: ACCC; Lawlex Legislative Alert & Premium Research)

Sustainability Reporting Speech
Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability

Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer Bernie Ripoll has made available his opening address (27 March 2012) to the Global Reporting Initiative Conference. In his speech, Mr Ripoll discusses integrated reporting and sustainability and reiterates that, while the federal government supports the move towards sustainability reporting, “benefits to the economy through sustainable reporting is best achieved as a voluntary initiative for businesses” and not through the implementation of mandatory sustainability reporting requirements.
(Source: Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer)