France's competition authority fined French and German flour makers a total of €242.4 million over various agreements to limit trade and fix prices in the retail sector. The investigation into anti-competitive practices was launched in 2008 after a German miller blew the whistle in return for full immunity from what would have been a €16.7 million fine.
Thirteen French and German millers were together fined €95.5 million for a cartel agreement from 2002 to 2008 aimed at limiting flows of packaged flour between the two countries by fixing exports at 15,000 tonnes.
A separate fine of just under €147 million was issued to seven French millers for entering into agreements to set prices for selling flour to retailers and for sharing retail orders on a geographical basis. The anti-competitive practices were conducted through joint ventures France Farine and Bach Muehle, which supplied supermarket and hard-discount channels, respectively, the regulator said.