The Netherlands: NMa imposes fines on international flour cartel

01 January 2011

Bastiaan de Bruijne

The Dutch Competition Authority (“NMa”) has imposed fines on 15 producers of flour in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, amounting to a total of EUR 81.6 million. The NMa identified five forms of collusion, which together resulted in a single infringement of Article 101(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”) and Article 6 of the Dutch Competition Act.

According to the NMa, between 2001 and 2007 the parties divided the market between them. The parties agreed not to compete for each other’s customers and also compensated a participant in the cartel for revenue losses in order to avoid stronger competition. The allegations also included the joint buying of a competitor outside the cartel in order to reduce competition, and the (indirect) joint acquisition and subsequent dismantling of a flour mill to avoid market entry by a new competitor.

Three parties applied for leniency with the NMa, which resulted in reduced fines. The NMa closely cooperated with other European competition authorities during the investigation.

Source: www.nmanet.nl 16 December 2010