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FB Roundup: Camargo Corrêa, Lindt, and Shoprite

Camargo Corrêa agrees to $30 million fine for price fixing; Lindt posts record half-year earnings; and Shoprite Holdings to open 35 new stores in Africa

Camargo Corrêa agrees to $30 million fine for price fixing

Brazilian engineering company Camargo Corrêa, controlled by the billionaire Carmargo sisters, has agreed to pay fines of $30 million after admitting to its role in a price fixing scandal.

According to Reuters, the 76-year-old firm admitted to participating in a cartel that fixed prices on contracts with state-owned oil producer Petrobras and has agreed to provide documents that incriminate other companies in exchange for exoneration.

The price fixing scandal involves allegations that suppliers overcharged state-owned Petrobas for contracts, splitting the extra money with corrupt Petrobras officials and politicians.

Camargo Correa, now in its second generation, was the first of Brazil's construction companies to see its top executives convicted of corruption and money laundering in response to the price fixing allegations.

Other companies allegedly involved in the cartel include family-owned Odebrecht, which specialises in construction, engineering and petrochemicals, and Panama City’s Queiroz Galvão.

Camargo Correa had revenues of $10.4 billion in 2011.

Lindt posts record half-year earnings

Family-controlled chocolate maker Lindt & Sprungli has reported a double-digit rise in net profit, despite price hikes in key commodities such as cocoa.

Boosted by the acquisition of US chocolate maker Russell Stover, famed for one of its product’s appearance in the feature film Forrest Gump, Lindt saw net profit rise by 15.6% from a year earlier.

The 170-year-old chocolate maker said the strong Swiss franc had hit sales in the first half to the tune of 7.5% and said it would once again target a 20-40 basis point improvement in earnings.

"We are selling the best quality products in the chocolate market on a worldwide basis. Secondly we have invested more than a treble million Swiss franc amount into technology and new equipment. The continuous investment—which will continue in years to come—is paying back handsomely now”, chief executive Ernst Tanner told CNBC.

Lindt, best known for their Lindor chocolate balls and Easter bunnies, was founded by David Sprüngli-Schwarz in 1845. The business is now headed by sixth-generation family members Tomas and Milan Prenosil and posted sales of $1.5 billion in the first half of this year. 

Shoprite Holdings to open 35 new stores in Africa

Family-owned Shoprite Holdings, the largest retailer in Africa by sales, will open 35 new stores on the continent in the next two years, according to a company statement.

The supermarket operator will base 14 of those stores in Nigeria, adding to the 12 it already has in the country, as the controlling Wiese family believes it is a high growth market with a burgeoning middle class. It follows an announcement by US family-controlled retailer Walmart in July that it planned to open in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub.

Shoprite, which also operates the Checkers grocery chain, reported a 10.8% rise in full-year earnings this week, thanks to sales growth outside of its core markets.

Shoprite Holdings was founded as a chain of eight stores in South Africa in 1979 and has grown to span 15 countries on the continent.

The second generation family business posted revenues of 114-billion South African Rand ($8.8 billion), up from 102 billion the previous year.

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