The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has fined seven undertakings that grow, process and trade in first-year onion sets for illegal cartel activities concerning the destruction of sown acreage of onion sets in 2009. According to the NMa, the undertakings sought to reduce the supply of onion sets to bring about higher prices.
In order to agree on the destruction of onion sets, and to make sure that the cartel participants stuck to the cartel agreement, the undertakings involved exchanged competition-sensitive information. The undertakings in question are Triumfus Onion Products Onion Sets B.V., TOP Cultures France s.a.r.l., M. Maas Kruiningen B.V., Steketee Yerseke B.V., A.C. Mosselman B.V., Handelmaatschappij Kesselaar B.V., Agpro Onions B.V. and Rijk Onion Sets B.V. Collectively they represent approximately 80 percent of the supply of first-year onion sets grown by Dutch undertakings.
First-year onion sets are used for growing second-year onions, which are suitable for consumption. The undertakings concerned generate 60 percent of their combined turnover within the European Union. The level of the fine has been based on this European turnover figure. Approximately fifty thousand tons is annually produced in the Netherlands. This cartel has been uncovered thanks to anonymous tip-offs submitted to the Information and Tip-Off Line.