The Romanian Competition Council has sanctioned Metro, Real, Selgros, and Mega Image, as well as 21 of their suppliers with fines totaling approximately 35 million euro (154 million lei) in the investigation on the food retail market which revealed that the companies were involved in price fixing agreements between 2005 and 2009. The competition authority announces that the anticompetitive practices detected concern both agreements setting the reselling price and their actions with respect to sales promotions.
“The Competition Council found out that the shelf prices were not set in accordance to market rules, respecting the supply-demand ratio, but the supplier and the retailer set a fixed or minimum price. This practice leads to higher prices for the final consumer, the retailer being unable to cut prices below the level established with the supplier”, reads a press release.
Additionally, the promotional practices were against the competition rules as the agreements between the retailers and their suppliers included clauses providing that the suppliers were not able to run sales promotions concurrently in multiple retail units, but only alternately.
Of the companies sanctioned, Metro received the biggest fine, 11.3 million euro, followed by Selgros Cash&Carry, 6.6 million euro, Mega Image, 5.6 million euro, and Real, 5.5 million euro. As regards their suppliers, the largest financial penalty, 1.1 million euro was imposed to Transilvania General Import Export.
The other companies sanctioned in this investigation are: Agroalim Distribution (138,000 euro), Albalact (499,888 euro), Argus (141,615 euro), Covalact SA (149,833 euro), Cramele Halewood SA (63,340 euro), Danone (599,828 euro), De Silva Intermed (7,217 euro), Delaco Distribution (206,829 euro), Gerola Prodinvest (70,210 euro), Granddis (74, 354 euro), Impex Bock (1,307 euro), Macromex (535,043 euro), Napolact (264,652 euro), Parmalat Romania (61,330 euro), Prodlacta (37,755 euro), Quadrant-Amroq Beverages (725,805 euro), Star Foods (443,900 euro), Tymbark Maspex Romania (374,301 euro), Whiteland Import Export (528,292 euro), Zarea (78,975 euro).
In late 2014, the competition authority initiated a new investigation on the food retail market, Auchan, Carrefour, Cora and Kaufland being the companies concerned, along with their suppliers. The documents seized during dawn raids are currently under examination.