The Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) requested that the Egyptian Financial and Industrial Company (EFIC) and Abu Zaabal Fertiliser and Chemical Co. (AZFC) be referred to the general prosecution for monopolistic practices after rejecting reconciliation.
The two companies violated Article 6 (a) of the Competition Protection Act, which stipulates: “Any agreement or contract between competing entities in any relevant market is prohibited, if such an agreement would raise, lower, or stabilise the prices of products.”
The ECA detected irregularities and the presence of monopolistic practices. The two companies reached an agreement to stabilise the price difference between their products—this difference being in favour of the EFIC.
The ECA has conducted two studies to examine the fertiliser sector. The first focused on production, which uncovered practices that result in limiting freedom of competition between the EFIC and the AZFC.
The other study was conducted on the distribution sector, which revealed an agreement between 24 fertiliser distribution companies to fix prices among themselves. These companies were already referred to the general prosecution in October.
The ECA was concerned by the fertiliser sector due to its direct and indirect impact on the prices of various products which in turn reflects on the welfare of the Egyptian people.
Consequently, the number of irregularities detected undoubtedly proves the prevalence of monopolistic practices between companies operating in the fertiliser sector. This in turn raises the question of the degree of existing irregularities and breaches in every important sector in the Egyptian market.