French poultry firms fined 15m euros for collusion

The French competition authority, l’Autorité de la Concurrence, has imposed fines totalling €15m (£10.8m) on a number of companies and organisations in the French poultry sector for conspiracy on pricing and market shares.

According to the authority, the French association of poultry processors (Fédération des Industries Avicoles) and 17 companies and organisations including DUC and LDC, made illegal arrangements between the years 2000 and 2007.

See also: French dairies fined €190m for rigging market

They held a large number of meetings to discuss the prices to charge their customers as well as other business details, says a report in sister journal World Poultry.

The main purpose was to get a stronger position in price negotiations with the larger supermarkets, an annual ritual in France.

The authority started its investigation over four years ago, since when, a number of companies involved have disappeared.

In deciding on the level of fine, the authority took into consideration the integrated nature of the whole poultry chain and the important role feed plays in the financial outcome.

Because of the very specific circumstances in this case, the authority concluded that it would be better to set up a sector organisation within the rules of the law as soon as possible, rather than to hit the sector with huge fines.

Also, it is understood none of the companies involved objected to the investigation.

In normal cases, the French competition authorities can impose fines of up to 10% of the turnover of the companies involved.