Germany looks into suspicions of price-fixing in food sector

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 18th January 2010

Price-fixing scandals in the food industry are seemingly popping up all across Europe with Germany’s competition authority the latest to issue an investigation into alleged price-fixing amongst food manufacturers and retailers.

Metro, Edeka, and Rewe have admitted to being among 11 German retailers raided by the German Federal Cartel Office and police in the price-fixing probe, according to Bloomberg.

Federal Cartel Office employees, together dozens of police officers, have searched the premises of 15 companies as they look for evidence of cartel-like behaviour.

“The authority is acting on the suspicion that branded manufacturers have agreed with retailers in the product areas of confectionery, coffee and pet food on the design of retail prices,” a statement from the competition authority advised*.

If a company is found guilty of such behaviour they can expect heavy fines – potentially in the order of ten per cent of annual turnover. Late last year three German coffee companies were found guilty of price-fixing, leading to fines of €160 million (A$250m).
* Translated from German.