German cartel office fines food companies 38 mn euros
Three food companies, including units of Kraft Foods and Unilever, have been fined 38 million euros ($53.2 million) for sharing sensitive competitive information, a German watchdog said Thursday.
The two and the German company Dr. Oetker, were found guilty of violating competition laws by meeting over a period of several years to discuss negotiations with retailers, the cartel office said.
"Competition was hindered by these actions," a statement quoted office president Andreas Mundt as saying, "even though it was not a question of classic collusion on prices, territories or clients."
A fourth major food manufacturer is still being investigated, it added.
Authorities were alerted to the discussions by a worker at the German division of the US conglomerate Mars, which under cartel authority rules will not be fined as a result.
© 2011 AFP