According to the Swedish Competition Authority, Arla Foods has participated in an unlawful cooperation by exchanging strategic information with a competitor in the connection to a public procurement regarding dairy products. The Authority is claiming that Arla Foods should pay just over SEK 1 million in competition administrative fees.
In 2016, Norrtälje Municipality, together with several other municipalities and municipal companies, published a contract notice regarding a coordinated framework agreement for dairy products. Arla Foods AB and Central Partihallen AB, both submitted tenders in the public procurement.
In the context of the public procurement, the companies were in contact with each other and exchanged information, including information about the pricing of the products they intended to offer. According to the Swedish Competition Authority, the companies’ cooperation was unlawful.
“Unlawful cooperation, under which tenderers exchange strategic information, are a serious violation of the competition rules. This puts competition out of play and ultimately risks leading to higher prices for consumers”, says Rikard Jermsten, Director General of the Swedish Competition Authority.
The Swedish Competition Authority has now filed a lawsuit against Arla Foods AB with the Patent and Market Court, asking that the company be ordered to pay SEK 1,130,000 in administrative fees. The fees have been reduced based on that Arla Foods AB cooperated with the Swedish Competition Authority during the investigation.
Central Partihallen AB was declared bankrupt in January 2019 and the Swedish Competition Authority has decided not to take legal action against the company.
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