France Fines Ham & Cold Meats Producers Over Cartel Activities

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The Autorité de la concurrence issued a decision in which it fines a cartel involving 12 companies operating in the ham and cold meats sector.

Cold meat manufacturers were coordinating with each other with a view to showing a united front at their negotiations with slaughterhouses in order to counter any requests to increase the price of the raw material or even obtain price reductions for its purchase (the “ham, flank removed”)1.

The manufacturers were also coordinating with each other with a view to developing a common position on price increases for cold meat products that they intended to charge mass-market retailers for their retailers’ brand or “economy products”1.

The practices impacted on a very large number of everyday consumer products (raw ham, cooked ham, sausage, rosette, chorizo, etc.).

These practices were brought to light thanks to the leniency procedure, which allows companies that have been involved in a concerted practice to disclose its existence to the Autorité and benefit, under certain conditions, from full or partial exemption from a fine. In this case, two groups, Campofrio and Coop, applied for leniency and supplied information for the investigation.

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