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Riberebro Fined €5.2 Million For Participation in Canned Mushrooms Cartel

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Riberebro Fined €5.2 Million For Participation in Canned Mushrooms Cartel

Riberebro Fined €5.2 Million For Participation in Canned Mushrooms Cartel
April 08
11:40 2016

The European Commission has found that Spanish canned and fresh vegetable company Riberebro participated in a cartel to coordinate prices and allocate customers of canned mushrooms in Europe for more than a year and has imposed a fine of €5.19 million on the company.

The Commission adopted a settlement decision in June 2014 concerning the participation in this same cartel of Bonduelle, Lutèce and Prochamp. Riberebro chose not to settle and consequently the investigation continued under the normal cartel procedure. The Commission sent Riberebro a statement of objections in May 2015, giving it the opportunity to exercise its rights of defence.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, says: “Access to food at competitive prices is essential for European consumers. The cartel for canned mushrooms affected sales to retailers throughout Europe. The decision once again shows the Commission’s determination to sanction cartels and impose fines on all cartel participants.”

EuropeanCommissionThe cartel concerned canned mushrooms sold in tins and jars (i.e. not fresh or frozen mushrooms) for private label sales in the European Economic Area (EEA). These sales are carried out via tender procedures to retailers and food wholesalers such as cash and carry companies, as well as to professional customers such as catering companies.

The overall aim of the cartelists was to stabilise their market shares and stop a decline in prices. To achieve this, the cartel members exchanged confidential information on tenders, set minimum prices, agreed on volume targets and allocated customers among themselves. The cartel was a non-aggression pact with a compensation scheme in case of customer transfer and application of minimum prices which had been agreed beforehand. The Commission found that Riberebro participated in the cartel from 10 September 2010 until 28 February 2012.

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