The decision concerns a cartel operated by Pacific Fruit and Chiquita from July 2004 until April 2005 in Italy, Greece and Portugal. The importers acted in violation of EU antitrust rules, by fixing weekly prices and exchanging price information in relation to their respective brands. Pacific Fruit was fined €8,919,000 million for its participation in the cartel. Chiquita received full immunity under the Commission’s leniency programme.
It is already the second decision the Commission has taken regarding the banana sector. In 2008, the Commission found that Banana importers Chiquita, Dole and Weichert participated in a cartel in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg, The Netherlands and Sweden between 2000 and 2002.5 The parties concerned had coordinated the setting of their quotation prices for bananas by discussing and disclosing their pricing intentions. Chiquita also participated in the cartel but then too was the first to inform the Commission, consequently benefiting from full immunity of fines.