Mum’s the word for rival companies
So clearly has the message been heard, executives say they don’t even like being seen in the same restaurant
The Competition Commission’s recently released draft guidelines on the exchange of information between competitors is a chilling reminder of just how little communication is allowed between competitors. A stock exchange announcement with comments on planned reductions in investment, benchmarking and even discussions with the state could get a corporate executive into trouble with the competition authorities. Allan Gray’s role in the appointment of Group Five directors could set off bells at the commission. None of this will come as a surprise to companies in the construction, dairy, flour and milling industries who have been fingered by the authorities. Even in sectors where there has not been first-hand experience of the much tougher power of the post-1999 competition authorities (there are remarkably few that haven’t been touched) the message has been heard loud and clear. Every other day there are reports of another sector being implicated, or of a pending market inquiry. The big...