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Retail

Portugal's Competition Authority Fines Six Retail Chains €304m

Portugal's competition authority AdC imposed fines worth a total €304 million on six supermarket chains, including retail leaders Sonae and Jeronimo Martins, and two beverage suppliers for allegedly fixing prices, the regulator said.

It said Modelo Continente, owned by Sonae, Pingo Doce run by Jerónimo Martins, the local units of France's Auchan and Intermarche and the supplier Sociedade Central de Cervejas (SCC) had agreed a progressive increase in prices for various drinks, including beers and waters.

The practices occurred between 2008 and 2017, AdC said in a statement.

These retailers, as well as rivals Lidl and E.Leclerc, have also jointly set prices on wine and hard liquor, it added.

Modelo Continente was fined the largest amount of €122 million, followed by Pingo Doce with €91 million, Auchan with €22 million and Intermarche with €19 million.

Retailer Response

The retailers can appeal at the Court of Competition, Regulation and Supervision, and Sonae said "these charges will be vigorously challenged before the courts".

In a statement, it said "it absolutely refutes the involvement of its subsidiary in any illegal practice".

Elsewhere, in response to the announcement, Pingo Doce said in a statement, "Pingo Doce was notified yesterday afternoon by the Portuguese Anti-Trust Authority of decisions regarding two processes, which implied a single fine of c. €91 million.

"Pingo Doce totally disagrees with such decisions, considered to be completely ungrounded and deeply undeserved in the light of the consistent effort done by the company, on a daily basis, to deliver the best prices and the best promotions to the Portuguese consumers. Therefore, Pingo Doce will challenge these decisions in court and use all means within its reach to defend its reputation and to establish the truth of the facts."

News by Reuters, edited by ESM. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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