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14 cement firms fined for price manipulation in Saudi Arabia

The General Authority for Competition said it received complaints that several companies had manipulated prices to benefit themselves

A collective fine of US $37.32mn has been imposed on 14 cement companies in the Kingdom by Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Competition (GAC). The antitrust authority imposed a $2.66mn fine on each of the cement firms for manipulating cement prices for their own benefit, infringing Article 4 of the Competition Law.

The law prohibits practices, agreements, or contracts among competing firms that lead to controlling the prices of goods and services intended for sale by increasing or decreasing them to harm the market, the authority explained.

The authority said it received complaints that several companies in the cement sector had manipulated prices to benefit themselves. Following this, the GAC board approved starting an investigation into these claims and found that companies violated the Competition Law by raising cement prices.

The companies penalised include Al Safwa Cement Co, City Cement Co, Al-Jouf Cement Co, Umm Al-Qura Co, Qassim Cement Co, Najran Cement Co, Southern Province Cement Co, United Cement Industrial Co, Yamama Cement Co, Riyadh Cement Co, Arabian Cement Co, Saudi Cement Co, Hail Cement Co, and Yanbu Cement Co, the authority revealed in a statement.

In early November 2022, Partanna Bahamas and the Government of the Bahamas inked a deal to develop the “world’s first carbon-negative affordable housing development” and, in mid January 2023, the ACI established a new centre of excellence for concrete industry productivity.

The GAC added that the resolutions were published at the expense of the violators, noting that all of them were final, as the Administrative Court of Appeal in Riyadh dismissed the challenges filed by those firms.

In addition, the authority called upon all establishments to abide by the Competition Law and its regulations to encourage consumer choices and support market growth and efficiency within a framework of fairness and transparency.

Earlier, the GAC also announced penalties against two enterprises for collusion in a project at Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones, also known as MODON, with a total fine of $563,000.

In late January 2023, the World Cement Association Director said that 2023 could be tough for cement producers.


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