Puma accused of price gouging

Pricing of aviation fuel ‘excessive’

21 September 2016 | Business

The Namibian Competition Commission (NaCC) conducted its first ever entry, search and seizure operation at the headquarters of Puma Energy Namibia last week.
The operation was part of an investigation by the commission into claims by pilots and aircraft owners that Puma’s pricing of aviation fuel at the Eros and Ondangwa airports was excessive, threatening the sector.
“Excessive pricing is a concern especially in this case, due to the fact that when charged to aircraft operators and owners at airports it will ultimately be passed on to consumers in the form of higher ticket prices,” the NaCC said in a statement issued yesterday.
“Excessive pricing could also undermine the ability of aircraft owners and operators to have free capital which could otherwise be invested in helping create and explore opportunities which could help derive benefits for the economy, such as the creation of additional employment opportunities and the procuring of better quality products”, the commission’s Restrictive Business Practices Unit said.
The NaCC conducted its dawn raid on the Puma premises on Thursday and Friday last week, with the goal of obtaining documentary and electronic evidence in respect of Puma’s pricing system.
The commission stressed that the swoop was a preliminary inspection and the seized information would now be assessed.
“The commission affirms that the investigation and the conducting of the dawn raid does not mean that Puma is guilty of anti-competitive behaviour, nor does it prejudice the outcome of the investigation itself,” the NaCC said.
It invited the company to make a written submission stating its position on the matter.
The commission said the duration of the investigation would depend on factors such as the complexity of the case and the extent to which those approached would cooperate.
Asked for comment yesterday, the company referred Namibian Sun to Puma Energy’s head of corporate affairs in Johannesburg, Zohra McDoolley-Aimone.
“Puma Energy has a strict policy of complying with the requirements set by national regulatory authorities. Namibia is no exception,” McDoolley-Aimone said in an emailed response.
“Puma Energy is fully cooperating with the authorities with regard to their official investigation.”

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