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French yoghurt cartel companies fined for fixing prices
Eleven French dairy product companies have been fined 192.7 million euros for running a "yoghurt cartel" that fixed prices for sales to supermarkets. Lactalis Nestlé received the biggest fine.
The "highly organised cartel" operated between 2006 and 2012 and agreed on prices for various fresh dairy products that supermarkets sold under their own labels.
Companies including Senagral (Senoble), Novandis and Nestlé Lactalis were part of the group, which divided up the market - worth an estimated five billion euros - between 11 companies.
Lactalis Nestlé, which received the largest fine at 56.1 million euros, described the punishment as "extremely harsh".
Yoplait left the cartel in 2011 after being taken over by American company General Mills and managed to escape sanction since it had been the first to report the price-fixing scheme.
Wholesale prices to the supermakets are estimated to have been inflated by two to seven per cent.