BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission has imposed a fine of more than 30 million euros (26.6 million pounds) on French and Dutch firms that it found had run a cartel for more than 13 years which inflated prices of green beans, peas and other canned vegetables in the European Union.
French firm CECAB received a 18-million-euro ($19.6 million)fine while the Dutch company Coroos will have pay 13.6 million euros for their participation in the cartel, the EU commission and antitrust regulator said in statement released on Friday.
France’s canned vegetable giant Bonduelle has escaped a 250-million-euro fine because it revealed the cartel, the commission said.
The other two companies had their fines reduced because they cooperated in the investigation and admitted their wrongdoing, the EU executive said. The cartel operated between 2000 and 2013.
As part of the investigation, the Commission is also pursuing its enquiry on Italian company Conserve Italia. This investigation is underway.
“European consumers should have access to food at affordable prices. But instead of competing with each other, Coroos and Groupe CECAB agreed to divide the market among themselves and to fix prices for canned vegetables across Europe,” EU antitrust commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.
Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio