MANY of Norway’s biggest salmon companies are being sued in the US over alleged price fixing, according to reports yesterday.
The move follows raids by European Commission officials in February at the Scottish offices of Norwegian owned producers.
Mowi, Leroy, SalMar, and Grieg are among those named in a class-action lawsuit alleging customers were harmed by ‘unlawful coordination’ of prices, Undercurrent News reported.
Mowi has denied the allegations. A spokesman confirmed: ‘A US company has filed a class action lawsuit against multiple Norwegian and Scottish salmon farming companies.
‘The filing is based on the inspections made by the EU Commission earlier this year, alleging anti-competitive conduct.
‘Mowi has not been involved in price fixing or other anti-competitive conduct, and believe that the allegations are unfounded.’
The alleged activity reportedly took place from July 1, 2015, until the present. The suit was filed in a US federal court in Miami, Florida, on April 23 by Ohio based distributor Euclid Fish Company.
The EC’s investigation saw raids taking place at the Scottish operations of Mowi (formerly Marine Harvest), at Scottish Sea Farms, part owned by Leroy and SalMar, and at Grieg Seafood.
The commissioners had previously sent letters to salmon farmers saying that the focus of the probe was on alleged price fixing of Norwegian salmon.
Salmon farming companies are accused of sharing competitively sensitive information, coordinating sales prices, and agreeing to purchase production from competitors.
The lawsuit also claims that the companies applied a coordinated strategy to increase spot prices of farmed Norwegian salmon in order to secure higher price levels for long-term contracts.
The full list of defendants in the US lawsuit are: Norway’s Mowi — and its North American subsidiaries Marine Harvest USA, Marine Harvest Canada and Ducktrap River of Maine; Norway-based Grieg and its British Columbia, Canada, arm, Grieg Seafood BC; Norway’s Bremnes Seashore as well as Ocean Quality, Ocean Quality North America, Ocean Quality USA and Ocean Quality Premium Brands, entities that are a partnership between Bremnes and Grieg; SalMar; Leroy and Leroy Seafood USA; and Scottish Sea Farms, a venture jointly owned by SalMar and Leroy.