PARIS (AFP) — France’s competition regulator on Wednesday condemned the country’s three top sandwich producers for colluding to fix the volumes and prices of the lunchtime snack for over half a decade.
Two firms were given multimillion-euro fines over the secret cartel that lasted from 2010 to 2016, though the third escaped financial punishment for being the first the blow the whistle on the operation.
The competition authority said that during the period Daunat, La Toque Angevine and Roland Monterrat colluded secretly over tenders to supply service stations and other sites with sandwiches for vending machines.
They agreed a “non-aggression pact” in 2010 to end a price war and put in place “a hidden consultation system allowing them to distort competition.
“They could raise prices without fearing a response from their rivals,” the regulator added.
The scheme was uncovered under a leniency procedure that allows companies to come clean about a cartel in possible exchange for lighter or no penalties.
Roland Monterrat, as the first to lift the wraps on the cartel, was not fined. The other two firms after initial investigations also cooperated under the leniency procedure, it said.
La Toque Angevine was fined 15.5 million euros ($18.3 million) and Daunat 9 million euros ($10.6 million).
© Agence France-Presse