In new twist to legal battle, Foskor may have to pay Omnia ‘substantial refund’
Foskor may have to pay JSE-listed Omnia "a substantial refund" following the latest round in a long-running legal battle over South African phosphoric acid prices.
On Monday, the full bench of the High Court in Pretoria dismissed with costs an appeal Foskor had made against a ruling in 2015 enforcing a settlement between Foskor and the Competition Tribunal in 2011.
"Omnia Fertilizer currently sources all of its phosphoric acid from Foskor. The basis of Omnia’s dispute was that Foskor, through its position as the sole producer of phosphoric acid in the region, as well as having sole access to the import-export terminal at Richards Bay, has for the period 2014 to date set the domestic phosphoric acid price at a level higher than the international price," Omnia said on Wednesday.
In the 2015 high court judgment against which Foskor appealed, acting judge Gerrit Muller said Foskor had "promptly acknowledged that its pricing was excessive" when it appeared before the Competition Tribunal.
In terms of its agreement with the competition authorities, Foskor undertook not to charge domestic customers more than its free-on-board (FOB) price to its export customers. It mainly exports to India.
Omnia argued that the readily available cost and freight (CFR) prices of phosphoric acid in India showed Foskor was not abiding by its agreement with the Competition Tribunal.
"The dismissal of Foskor’s appeal by the full bench of the high court is the third time that Foskor has failed to convince the courts of the merits of its case," Omnia said.