Competition law round-up

European and UK competition authorities have been busy in the food and beverage sector so far this year. These authorities, which regulate both mergers and anti-competitive behaviour, have been flexing their enforcement muscles.

Following a complaint from four pig farmers, the Autorité De La Concurrence (the French equivalent of the UK’s Office of Fair Trading) has imposed fines for a total amount of €4.57m (£3.83m) for several anti-competitive practices in the Brittany pork slaughtering and commercialisation market. Some of these practices were brought to light following dawn raids by the Autorité De La Concurrence on several companies and professional organisations.

The main practice sanctioned was the agreement by five major Breton slaughterers of the quantity of pigs each would buy from pig farmers, with the principal aim of lowering the prices paid to those farmers. The Autorité De La Concurrence also fined the slaughter houses’ professional body (the French Meat Association, formerly known as the SNCP1) for sending pricing instructions and for other anti-competitive practices between slaughterers…

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