Arla found guilty of malpractice

Danish dairy giant Arla Foods has been fined DkK5m (£460,000) for abusing its dominant market position in Denmark to the detriment of one of its competitors.

The case revolved around two Arla sales executives who made a “marketing subsidy” of DkK200,000 (£18,400) to wholesaler Metro on condition that it remove products supplied by rival dairy co-op Hirtshals from its stores in Denmark.

The meeting between the two companies took place in October 2003, though Arla maintains that the payment was made in connection with Metro’s 40th anniversary, rather than any attempt to undermine Hirtshals’ supply contract.

But this claim has been kicked out by a judge in Arla’s home town of Aarhus, who found the company guilty of commercial malpractice.

Arla Foods’ managing director Peder Tuborgh expressed disappointment at the outcome, but relief that the fine was not higher.