German potato packing firms fined for price fixing

Picture: iStockBundeskartellamt, the German competition authority, imposed fines totalling Euro 13.2m on Hans-Willi Buhmer Verpackung und Vertrieb GmbH Co. KG and Kartoffel-Kuhn GmbH. Buhmer is one of the two main potato and onion packaging plants while Kuhn is only in south-west Germany. They are the major suppliers of packed potatoes and onions to the Metro group. Since early 2005 and until proceedings started in May 2013, the responsible people at the firms had been in regular telephone contact, especially in the run-up to the weekly offer for packed potatoes and onions to the Metro group. Andreas Mundt, president of the Bundeskartellamt, said: “For years the companies concerned have agreed on an important parameter in the calculation of their weekly offers to Metro. By aligning their purchase prices used in the calculation, the two major suppliers of the Metro group virtually eliminated any price competition between them. More