Dutch authorities look into flour “cartel”

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 18th January 2010

The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) is investigating a number of companies in the flour industry over suspected involvement in a cartel.

The agency said it drew up several reports against a number of companies suspected as having concluded cartel agreements at the end of 2009 after a “thorough” investigation.

Similar investigations have also been carried out in other countries, including Germany, Italy and Belgium, the authority said.

“The companies in question still have the opportunity to respond, but if it indeed turned out that they have concluded cartel agreements, the ramifications could be very severe indeed,” said Pieter Kalbfleisch, chairman of the board of the NMa.

“Bread, pasta and other flour-related products are consumed daily by everyone. A cartel such as this one would thus harm everyone in the Netherlands because people are not charged a fair price for their basic foodstuffs,” he added.

Due to the suspicion of the cartel’s existence and having received other “concrete” indications, the NMa said it will include the processing industry as one of its focus industries for 2010-2011.

A spokesperson for NMA declined to name the companies involved in the investigation but said a list would be published in a report with the final results of the probe.

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