Oct 01 2008

Shell’s great escape

Published by at 5:20 pm under Companies

Just in time is back as a management tool! If the well-timed sale by Shell of its share in the German-based joint venture Merkur to South African chemical company Sasol (the other partner in the joint venture) at the end of last year is anything to go by.

Sasol changed the name of the company to Sasol Wax on 1 January this year. Today, exactly nine months later, the EU Commission slapped a massive R3,8 billion fine on Sasol for price-fixing activity between 1992 and 2005. The EU Commission identified Sasol as the leader of a nine member “paraffin mafia” (as the EU Commission called the wax cartel).

Shell wasn’t mentioned as a beneficiary of the price-fixing activity – even though it was co-owner of Merkur for part of the time the cartel was active. Isn’t that a great escape? And a bit strange?

More about Sasol Wax: It’s a 100% subsidiary of the SA company Sasol Limited, employs 1,100 people worldwide and has its head office in Hamburg, Germany. It has a number of manufacturing facilities in Europe, South Africa and the USA. With an annual consolidated turnover of €600 million, it is one of the world’s leading producers and marketers of synthetic and petroleum derived waxes.

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