Bloomberg News

Tesco Appeals U.K. Fine Over Alleged Cheese Price-Fixing Cartel

October 20, 2011

Oct. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Tesco Plc, Britain’s largest supermarket chain, appealed a a U.K. regulator’s 10.4 million pound ($16.4 million) fine over an alleged conspiracy to fix the price of cheese products nearly a decade ago.

The Office of Fair Trading was wrong to find Tesco colluded with dairy producers to share prices with J Sainsbury Plc, Wal- Mart Stores Inc.’s Asda chain and other retailers in 2002 and 2003, according to an Oct. 17 outline of the case posted on the website of the Competition Appeal Tribunal in London. Tesco has said the alleged violations followed lobbying by British dairy farmers for higher prices.

“The seven other parties facing a penalty have admitted their involvement, have not appealed and are paying their fine,” Kasia Reardon, a spokeswoman for the watchdog, said today in a statement.

The OFT left the penalty against Cheshunt, England-based Tesco unchanged when it reduced the total fines in the case for the second time in August to 49.5 million pounds after other companies sought to resolve the probe and cooperated. The levies had totaled 116 million pounds when they were first issued in 2007. They were lowered to 70 million pounds last year after the OFT dropped some claims because of insufficient evidence.

--Editor: Anthony Aarons

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Larson in London at elarson4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net


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