Supermarket Morrisons to sue the Office of Fair Trading

Supermarket chain Morrisons is suing the Office of Fair Trading for naming it in connection with an alleged milk cartel.

The OFT alleged Morrisons was one of a number of firms involved in fixing the price of milk products in 2002 but Morrisons has accused the OFT of damaging its reputation by naming it as part of the milk price probe.

The OFT said that: “There is ongoing litigation, relating to the content of a press release, which we are not able to discuss.”

But the OFT spokesman confirmed that there was a continuing investigation into alleged collusion by Morrisons concerning milk prices in 2002.

In September 2007, the OFT said it had provisionally found evidence against a number of supermarkets and dairy processors.

It alleged they had colluded to fix the price of some dairy products by sharing commercially sensitive information in 2002 and in some cases, 2003.

The OFT clarified its position concerning Morrisons in December last year.

It said its provisional findings related to allegations Morrisons colluded in respect of certain liquid milk products in 2002 only and that it regretted “any confusion which may have arisen”.

Asda, Dairy Crest, Safeway, Sainsbury’s, The Cheese Company and dairy firm Wiseman, admitted anti-competitive practices and agreed to pay fines totalling £116m.

Morrisons bought Safeway in 2004, after the period when the practices took place.