French milk leaders targeted by an investigation by the Competition Authority
AFP, Published on Friday, November 18, 2022 at 7:34 pm
Origins amongst the massive French milk makers, together with primary Lactalis: The competitors authority introduced on Friday that it’s investigating doable “anti-competitive” practices in the assortment of cow’s milk.
The authority’s investigative providers proceeded on Thursday, “after approval from the liberty and detention decide, for unannounced inspections and seizure operations with corporations suspected of implementing anti-competitive practices in the cow milk provide sector”.
“At this stage, these interventions clearly don’t prejudge the guilt of the corporations involved by the alleged practices, which might solely make it doable to ascertain if an investigation on the deserves is critical”, he added in a press launch.
Autorite doesn’t point out the names of any related corporations. He didn’t wish to say extra when requested by AFP.
“Documents have been seized on Sodial, Savencia, Ureal and Lactalis,” a involved industrialist instructed AFP, confirming the info from Le Figaro.
Together, these 4 corporations procure greater than two-thirds of French milk.
“We affirm yesterday’s go to by the competitors authorities to our Paris workplace. At this stage, we can not touch upon the motive for this go to. We are calm, and we’re at the disposal of the authorities”, Sodial responded in a press launch.
The main French dairy cooperative (20% of the assortment) notably produces Candia milk and Yoplait yoghurts.
A spokesman for the agricultural cooperative group confirmed to AFP that inspectors from the authorities visited the premises of the milk department, Eurial, which notably produces Sognon cheese.
When requested, primary milk Lactalis (model president, Lactel…) didn’t wish to remark and Savencia (Caprice des Deux, Saint Moret…) didn’t reply.
Giant Danone, in the meantime, instructed AFP it had not obtained any visits from inspectors.
– “Old Habits” –
“According to the info now we have, the investigation targets an previous apply known as + assortment agreements or cross-collection +”, stated a participant in the sector.
Its function: to restrict the kilometers traveled by milk assortment vehicles from farms.
When they use it, producers agree that the dairy closest to a breeder collects his milk, even when he’s below contract with a competitor.
The breeder is paid by the producer with whom he has signed a business contract. The two corporations then do their accounts and reimburse one another by way of a “re-invoicing” system.
“This is an answer discovered to facilitate the logistics of assortment. Thousands of vehicles gather milk every single day in France, in areas which are typically troublesome to entry”, argues this supply.
“The decrease the assortment, the extra you scale back the well being threat,” defends the industrialist, who spoke on situation of anonymity.
According to him, this method permits the breeder to decide on the industrialist to whom he needs to promote his milk, and by default can not select the one closest to his farm.
On its web site, the milk interprofessional Cniel talks about “alternate of fine apply in dairying”. He declined to touch upon the ongoing investigation.
The Autorité de la concurrence notes that “corporations not inspected” can come ahead with their “tolerance program”: corporations that denounce their previous or present membership of a cartel can profit from favorable remedy, together with “complete immunity or a part of the positive”. .