Antitrust: Commission sends Statement of Objections to Conserve Italia for participation in canned vegetables cartel

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


The European Commission has informed Conserve Italia Soc. coop. Agricola and its subsidiary Conserves France SA (together referred to as Conserve Italia) of its preliminary view that they have breached EU antitrust rules by colluding to distort competition in the market for canned vegetables in the European Economic Area (EEA).

Conserve Italia is an Italian agricultural cooperative producing amongst other products canned vegetables. The Commission has concerns that Conserve Italia may have colluded with other market participants within the EEA to fix selling prices, share markets and allocate customers for the supply of certain types of canned vegetables (under own brands or under private labels) to retailers and/or food service companies. In particular, the Commission suspects that Conserve Italia has participated in horizontal price fixing and market sharing agreements, through which they coordinated their commercial conduct with other market participants, for several consecutive years.

If the Commission’s preliminary view were confirmed, such behaviour would violate EU rules that prohibit anti-competitive business practices such as collusion on prices and market sharing (Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement).

The sending of a Statement of Objections does not prejudge the outcome of an investigation.

Background

In September 2019, the Commission adopted a settlement decision against Bonduelle, Coroos and Groupe CECAB, finding that the three companies participated for more than 13 years in a cartel for the supply of certain types of canned vegetables to retailers and/or food service companies in the EEA. The Commission’s investigation had started with unannounced inspections in October 2013. The three companies admitted their involvement in the cartel and total fines of €31.6 million were imposed.

In the context of the same investigation, the Commission opened proceedings against a fourth company, Conserve Italia. Conserve Italia was not covered by the September 2019 settlement decision and therefore, the investigation concerning this company continued under the standard (non-settlement) cartel procedure.

A Statement of Objections is a formal step in Commission investigations into suspected violations of EU rules on restrictive business practices. The Commission informs the parties concerned in writing of the objections raised against them. The parties can then examine the documents in the Commission’s investigation file, reply in writing and request an oral hearing to present their comments on the case before representatives of the Commission and national competition authorities.

If, after the parties have exercised their rights of defence, the Commission concludes that there is sufficient evidence of an infringement, it can adopt a decision prohibiting the conduct and imposing a fine of up to 10% of a company’s annual worldwide turnover.

There is no legal deadline for the Commission to complete antitrust inquiries into anticompetitive conduct. The duration of an antitrust investigation depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of the case, the extent to which the undertaking concerned cooperates with the Commission and the exercise of the rights of defence.

More information is available under the case number AT.40127 in the public case register on the Commission’s competition website.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Antitrust: Commission publishes study on the application of Interchange Fees Regulation

8 fascinating and fearsome frontiers of science you should know about

Security Union: political agreement on strengthened Schengen Information System

Right-wing “sovranism” harm national identity

We can save the Earth. Here’s how

Thursday’s Daily Brief: Women in peacekeeping, the arrest of Sudan’s leader, updates on Libya, Nigeria and Syria

Protecting whistle-blowers: new EU-wide rules approved

The Chinese retail revolution is heading west

The Czech economy is thriving but boosting skills and productivity and transitioning to a low-carbon productive model is vital to sustainable and inclusive growth

Safer roads: More life-saving technology to be mandatory in vehicles

Crimea: The last bloodless secession of a Ukraine region?

Education critical to ensure future of forests, and reverse their destruction

These refugee children have danced in the snow for the first time

They have more than 30 words for “apple core”, and other things you didn’t know about Switzerland

COP24: Huge untapped potential in greener construction, says UN environment agency

New migration pact highlights key role of business in protecting migrants, say UN experts

Trump wants to implicate China in US attacks against global order

After Rio Grande tragedy, UNICEF chief highlights ‘dire’ detention centres on US-Mexico border

Parliament boosts consumer rights online and offline

Humanitarian migration falls while labour and family migration rises

Cocaine and opium production worldwide hit ‘absolute record highs’ – major threat to public health says UN study

Council’s position on Visa Directive a step back for young people’s mobility

A Sting Exclusive: “Cybersecurity: Why consumer products must be looked at urgently”, by BEUC’s Deputy Director General

‘Dire consequences’ for a million children in the Middle East, North Africa, as funding dwindles

What changes in the EU as from today

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: Busting the myth by looking at the facts

MWC 2016 LIVE: Stripe gives payments leg-up to startups in emerging markets

Strengthening the rule of law through increased awareness, an annual monitoring cycle and more effective enforcement

UNICEF backpacks used as a haunting symbol to call for greater protection of children living in conflict

Lagarde: Keep feeding the banks cut down wages and food subsidies

Thousands of Belgian schoolchildren have gone on strike to protest climate change

‘Working night and day’, UN health agency seeks to prevent global coronavirus crisis

EU Council agrees to reform the system for motor vehicles but with “restricted” power for the Commission

Single Market Scoreboard 2020: Member States need to do more to ensure the good functioning of the EU Single Market*

Child victims of DRC Ebola outbreak need ‘special attention and care’: UNICEF

Finally an answer to the hottest question of European youth today: How to make sure Juncker’s Investment Plan works for youth

The multidisciplinary team facing the multidrug resistant form of Tuberculosis in the state of Amazonas (Brazil)

Adolescent health has been overlooked for too long

Worldwide terror attacks have fallen for the third year in a row

Ukraine: turning challenges into opportunities


Conditions deteriorating alarmingly in Yemen, warns senior UN official

Why is the Strait of Hormuz so important?

5 times people predicted the future and got it really wrong

Failure to open accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia is a mistake

The impact of COVID-19 on the life of the elderly

In the future of work it’s jobs, not people, that will become redundant

Last-chance Commission: Why Juncker promised investments of €300 billion?

Long-term EU budget: The Union’s ambitions must be matched with sufficient reliable funding

The 3 traps when it comes to blockchain and business – and how to avoid them

European Commission reacts to the US restrictions on steel and aluminium affecting the EU

Newly licensed vaccine, ‘milestone in the fight’ against Ebola in Africa, UN health agency

Internet Forum: Prioritize technologies most needed for sustainable development

Strict alcohol laws which cut intake more than 40 per cent in Russia, linked to historically high life expectancy

The recipe for creativity involves a lot of ideas, and a short break

Investigate alleged pushbacks of asylum-seekers at the Greek-Turkish border, MEPs demand

The Venezuelan exodus to Roraima and its repercussions

Fairness in the food supply chain: Commission proposes to increase price transparency

Prospect of a nuclear war ‘higher than it has been in generations’, warns UN

Colombia’s former president says COVID-19 shows the importance of listening to indigenous peoples on how we treat the planet

Trade defence report: restoring the level playing field for European producers

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s