September 6, 2017 / 7:08 PM / 10 months ago

Brazil's antitrust watchdog fines LPG cos over price fixing, cartel formation

SAO PAULO, Sept 6 (Reuters) - Brazil's antitrust watchdog Cade has signed agreements with the largest petroleum gas distributors to settle charges that the companies formed a cartel and colluded to fix prices in the Northeastern and Center-West regions of the country.

Liquigas Distribuidora SA, a subsidiary of state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, agreed to pay 65 million reais ($21 million) in fines and committed to end the cartel practices.

In the Center-West region case, rival Companhia Ultragaz SA, owned by Ultrapar Participações SA will pay a 2 million real fine.

Last month, Cade blocked the tie-up between the two rival firms fined on Wednesday. Ultrapar Participações had agreed last year to acquire Liquigas for 2.8 billion reais.

The Liquigas deal was part of a large Petrobras asset sale program aiming to reduce the oil company's debt. ($1 = 3.1065 reais) (Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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