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NMa revises fines on flour producers

22-03-2012

In its decision on objection, the Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has lowered seven of the fifteen fines it had imposed on flour producers. This reduction, however, does not take away anything from the gravity of the violation (cartel activities), which was upheld in the decision on objection. Appeals against this revised decision can be filed with the District Court of Rotterdam.

In the objection proceedings, the NMa concluded that there was insufficient evidence that German flour producer VK Mühlen had taken part in the agreement to compensate one of the competitors. The fine on VK Mühlen was subsequently lowered to just over EUR 1 million (was EUR 2.3 million). The fine on another flour producer has been lowered because of specific circumstances. The fines on five other cartelists have been lowered because their fines had been set higher than the fining rules would have allowed, or because of their limited role in the cartel.

Original decisions

Decision on objection

Meneba

€ 9,000,000

€ 9,000,000

Grain Millers

€ 2,868,000

€ 2,868,000

Werhahn

€ 3,992,000

€ 3.992,000

Dossche

€ 22,804,000

€ 22,804,000

Ranks

€ 13,135,000

€ 3,911,000

Benando is jointly and severally liable for the fine on Ranks in the amount of:

€ 13,135,000

€ 2,622,000

Flechtorfer

€ 908,000

€ 454,000

Ceres

€ 12,928,000

€ 12,928,000

Gebr. Engelke

€ 7,705,000

€ 3,492,000

VK Mühlen

€ 2,373,000

€ 1,017,000

Brabomills

€ 4,673,000

€ 4,673,000

Okermühle, Milser Mühle en Saalemühle

€ 392,000

€ 275,000

Krijger

€ 17,000

€ 17,000

Total

€65,981,000

In December 2010, the NMa found fifteen flour producers from the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany guilty of cartel activities. Their cartel had a market share of approximately 90 per cent on the Dutch flour market, which has an annual turnover of roughly EUR 250 million.