How will they bear it? German Cartel Office says to Gummi “€2.4M thanks!”
The confectionary wars continue – this time before the competition authorities …. Mars GmbH applied to the German Bundeskartellamt for leniency and avoided any fine, but Gummi producer Haribo and two other branded confectioners have been subject to investigation, culminating in Haribo being fined €2.4M. The Bundeskartellamt stated that the fine relates to meetings between the four companies in 2006 and 2007, at which sales reps exchanged information on the state of negotiation at major retailers.
In announcing the fine on 1 August 2012, Bundeskartellamt President Andreas Mundt noted that while information exchanges of this nature are not hard core cartel agreements about price, supply areas, customers or quotas, such agreements do impair competition and are impermissible under competition law.
The decision is a salutary reminder that care should be taken in all discussions with competitors, especially for those in the banking sector in light of the new price signalling provisions that came into effect on 6 June 2012.