German Wurst cartel swallows €338m fine for colluding on prices

 

Germany’s competition regulator has squeezed a €338m (£268m) fine out of the country’s largest sausage makers for colluding on prices.

The Federal Cartel Office said the fine will be shared among 33 individuals and 21 companies, including the Nestlé subsidiary Herta.

Dubbed the “Atlantic Circle”, after the Hamburg hotel where the group met, the Wurst producers were accused of colluding for more than 10 years to push through higher prices and to agree on price ranges for various products. The watchdog was tipped off by an anonymous informant.

“Price-fixing discussions were conducted for years,” said the Federal Cartel Office’s president, Andreas Mundt. “At first glance, the total sum seems high but it is less so relative to the number of companies involved, how long the cartel went on, and the billions in turnover the companies made on the market.”

The FCO said that 11 of the companies have admitted wrongdoing in return for smaller fines.

However, Mühlen Gruppe, which owns the Böklunder and Könecke labels, said it plans to contest the fines.

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