The EC has today fined Spanish canned vegetable company, Riberebro €5.2 million after finding they participated in a cartel to manipulate the price of canned mushrooms across Europe for a period in excess of 12 months.
Riberebro provided canned mushrooms sold in tins and jars via tender, to clients such as wholesalers, retailers and catering companies throughout the whole of the EEA. In 2014 it was found that the cartel members, also including Bonduelle, Lutece and Prochamp had been exchanging confidential information on minimum prices and tenders as well as volume targets and allocated customers, thus falling foul of the EUs strict antitrust regulations.
Access to produce at competitive prices is essential for European consumers and any attempt to manipulate or influence market prices is subject to heavy fines and sanctions imposed by the EC on to all cartel participants.
The cartel all chose to settle with the exception of Riberebro who chose to proceed under the normal cartel procedure. The commission subsequently found that Riberebro had participated in the cartel from September 2010 until February 2012 and fined them based on criteria such as amount of sales, geographic scope and the companies’ ability to pay the fine.
Under the Commissions 2006 Leniency Notice, the company benefited from a 50% reduction on the fine for cooperating with the investigation.