UK supermarkets join price fixing action against salmon giants

Fresh atlantic salmon on the supermarket counter

A number of British supermarkets are suing Norway’s main salmon companies following a European Union investigation into price fixing.

This latest development was disclosed yesterday by the Lerøy Seafood Group, one of the companies facing action.

Lerøy said in its Q4 report that the supermarkets issued claims for damages in the UK earlier this month against several Norwegian owned aquaculture companies, including those in the Lerøy Seafood Group.

It added: “The Group strongly rejects the claimants’ allegations and considers such claims from customers to be baseless. In Europe, these types of claims are first and foremost relevant if the Commission adopts a decision in its ongoing investigation and the decision is upheld.

“The Group understands that the claims have been issued at this stage in an attempt to interrupt potential limitation of claims under certain laws. “

The European Commission first initiated its investigation relating to suspicions of anti-competitive cooperation in the market for farmed Norwegian Atlantic salmon in February 2019.

Then last month the Commission announced that it had had sent a Statement of Objections (“SO”) to several exporters of Norwegian salmon.

Lerøy said: “The SO sets out the Commission’s preliminary assessment that the exporters, in some instances, may have exchanged commercially sensitive information in relation to spot market sale of whole Norwegian farmed salmon to the EU in the period 2011-2019.

“Lerøy Seafood Group is one of the companies that has received the SO. Lerøy Seafood Group strongly rejects the Commission’s allegations.

“The SO is not a final decision and has been issued in accordance with the Commission’s ordinary procedures for such an investigation. The SO includes the Commission’s preliminary assessments only.

“The company has a right of response and will, after carefully reviewing the SO, provide its comments to the Commission.”

It also said the company had co-operated with the Commission throughout its investigation, and would continue to work constructively with the Commission.

It is standard practice that these investigations last several years, Lerøy said, adding that it is not possible at this stage to make any statement on whether the case will result in sanctions or other negative consequences for the group, or when the case will end.



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