Tourvest Holdings and Siyazisiza Trust have been found guilty by the competition tribunal of the collusive tender for arts, crafts and curiosity leasing offers at OR Tambo International Airport (Ortia) in Johannesburg.
The tribunal has ordered Tourvest has to pay a fine of just over R9 million.
Tourvest operates retail stores for arts, crafts and curios as well as branded goods stores in the area of the international departure terminal in Ortia.
The trust is a broad one Established agency for the development of craft businesses that works with several rural artisans. It sells the artisans’ products to retailers, government agencies, corporate clients, and foreigners. The operation of the trust is financed by donations and income from the sale of handicrafts.
In February 2013, the Airports Company SA (Acsa) published a tender for a tender for handicrafts and curiosity leasing offers under Ortia. The tender comprised three separate retail offers for a period of five years, the court said.
Tourvest supported the Trust in preparing its offer for “Opportunity 3”, in which the stores IPR 04, DFE 04, BS 02.
“During the bid reviews, Acsa found similarities between Tourvest and the Trust’s bids. For example, the bids contained the same price predictions, suggesting a possible collusion between the two.
< "However, Tourvest argued that the agreement between him and the Trust was fully disclosed. The [Competition] Commission denied this, saying that Acsa 's parties had made a significant under-disclosure."
The case of the Competition Commission was that during the time that Tourvest and the Trust were both tendering, they became competitors, and both Tourvest and the Trust have denied this.
Tourvest said it had assisted the Trust in preparing its bid because it had no experience of issuing such tenders. The trust did not have the expertise to run the business and would be assisted by Tourvest through a letter of intent to run the business until they could do so themselves in the event of a successful offer by the trust.
Tourvest however, it also ran the same tender for Opportunity 3.
The Tribunal said in its ruling that the Tourvest deal “was an agreement to compete in violation of the law. It must not lost sight of the fact that Tourvest made its own independent offer for Acsa’s Opportunity 3 and at the same time agreed with the Trust on its offer for the same opportunity.
“Based on the facts at hand, Tourvest was clear the mastermind behind and leading the collusive tender. It dragged the trust into the collusive behavior for its own intended financial gain. “
The court said however, it has significantly reduced the administrative penalty payable by Tourvest by “disclosing certain details to a certain extent” of the relationship between them in their bid to Acsa ”.