GREECE - Thirteen of Greek chicken companies are facing fines totalling almost €40 million after being found guilty of market and price fixing.
The Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) has announced an infringement decision with fines addressed to a number of undertakings active in the production and distribution of poultry meat.
Following an investigation, the HCC, by unanimous decision, found that 13 undertakings active in the poultry-meat sector in Greece, as well as an association of such undertakings, infringed Article 1 Law 703/1977 (now Article 1 Law 3959/2011) and article 101 TFEU, by engaging in collusive practices (agreements and/or concerted practices) aimed at coordinating their competitive behaviour (price fixing and market-sharing).
According to the decision, the evidence gathered throughout the investigation substantiates that the implicated undertakings coordinated to fix the selling prices of their products (fresh and frozen poultry meat) towards downstream suppliers (namely wholesalers, super-markets, butchers, rotisseries). Moreover, they engaged in market-sharing by allocating customers, with a view to complementing and stabilizing the agreements and/or concerted practices on prices.
The collusive scheme was implemented through regular meetings of representatives of the poultry meat producers and exchange of information on future prices, at the premises of their trade association and elsewhere. Overall, the anti-competitive conduct lasted for over a decade (from as early as 1996 until 2010), although not all parties were involved for the entire period of the said single and continuous infringement.
Based on the gravity and duration of the infringement, and after taking into account the particularities and economic conditions of the sector, as well as aggravating and mitigating circumstances, the HCC has imposed fines totaling €39.9 million on the firms and their trade association.
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