The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has filed proceedings against Cement Australia Pty Ltd, Pozzolanic Enterprises Pty Ltd and two related companies* in the Federal Court, Brisbane for alleged breaches of the Trade Practices Act 1974.
The ACCC has alleged two breaches of section 46 by Cement Australia and Pozzolanic, in relation to entering into and amending a contract to acquire flyash from Millmerran Power Station in south east Queensland.
Flyash is a by-product of burning black coal at electricity generating power stations. When of suitable quality, it can be used as a cheap partial substitute for cement in ready-mix concrete.
The ACCC has alleged that Pozzolanic and Cement Australia had no commercial need for the contracted flyash from Millmerran Power Station, and by contracting for the flyash, took advantage of their market power for the purpose of preventing entry and competitive conduct in the relevant concrete-grade flyash market.
The ACCC is seeking declarations, injunctions, pecuniary penalties and costs. The matter has been set down for a directions hearing in Brisbane on 31 October 2008.
*The ACCC has alleged ancillary conduct by Cement Australia Holdings Pty Ltd and Cement Australia (Queensland) Pty Ltd, formerly Queensland Cement Ltd, which are parent companies of Pozzolanic.