The Office of Fair Trading has provisionally found that six Scottish dairies fixed the price of milk being supplied to ‘middle ground’ customers over a four year period from 2000 to 2003.
The OFT has issued a statement which suggests the six may have engaged in price fixing by sharing pricing information and co-ordinating a series of price increases between them.
The OFT’s statement also said that they may have colluded over arrangements not to compete for each others’ customers, a form of market sharing.
The six companies concerned are Ballantyne, Grahams, Quothquan, Renfrew, Scottish Milk Dairies and Wiseman.
The alleged infringement relates to customers such as schools, shops, cafes and hotels but excludes the big supermarkets and doorstep customers.
The OFT has now given the parties the opportunity to make written and oral representations on the statement of objections, which the OFT will take into account before making its final decision.
The OFT’s statement stressed that no assumption should be made at this stage that there has been an infringement of competition law.
“The OFT will not be in a position to decide if the law has been breached until it has received and reviewed the parties’ responses to the statement of objections and any comments from interested third parties.”