U.K. Retailers Fined for Dairy Price Fixing

British supermarket operators Sainsbury, Asda and Safeway, along with three dairy producers, have agreed to pay fines totaling around $170 million related to charges they colluded to increase milk prices in 2002 and 2003, the Office of Fair Trading here said.

LONDON — British supermarket operators Sainsbury, Asda [3] and Safeway, along with three dairy producers, have agreed to pay fines totaling around $170 million related to charges they colluded to increase milk prices in 2002 and 2003, the Office of Fair Trading [4] here said. The fines came as part of an early settlement of an ongoing OFT investigation alleging that the retailers and suppliers disclosed and/or exchanged pricing information with one another for products including milk, butter and cheese during those periods. The investigation is continuing in regard to similar charges against Morrisons and Tesco, the group said. Sainsbury in a statement said its actions during the period “were intended to help British dairy farmers at a time of considerable economic pressure and public debate about whether farmers were getting a fair price for their products.”

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