UK supermarkets allege £675 million in losses due to price-fixing salmon cartel

Matthew Wilcox

A group of British supermarkets have estimated £675 million in collective losses as a result of alleged price fixing on the part of major salmon producers.

Retailers representing more than 44% of the UK grocery market filed a legal notice in February, alleging that they collectively incurred losses of £675 million in overpayments due to an illegal price-fixing arrangement among salmon producers.

This allegation centres on a cartel’s supposed operation from 2011 to February 2019.The claimants in this lawsuit, a group of major UK supermarkets and food retailers, include Asda, Iceland Foods, Marks & Spencer, Ocado, Wm Morrison Supermarkets, International Seafoods, Aldi, and two entities of the Co-operative Group.

Notably, the Uk’s largest retailer Tesco along with Sainsbury’s and Waitrose have not chosen to participate.

The retailers have accused a number of companies in the farmed Atlantic salmon industry, including Bremnes Seashore, Cermaq Group, Grieg Seafood, Lerøy Seafood Group, SalMar, Mowi, and Scottish Sea Farms, of participating in the illegal cartel.

According to court documents filed with the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), these companies allegedly controlled the supply of farmed Atlantic salmon in violation of competition laws in both the UK and the European Union.

The claimants argue that this arrangement artificially inflated the prices of farmed Atlantic salmon and its related products, such as smoked or frozen salmon, impacting the entire supply chain and causing significant financial harm.

EU Commission suspects Mowi, Cermaq, Grieg, Leroy and SalMar of violating antitrust rules

The background to this legal action includes various investigations and proceedings against the accused companies. Since February 2019, most of the defendants were subject to dawn raids by the European Commission, leading to an official antitrust investigation.

Additionally, some of these companies have been investigated by the US Department of Justice and faced lawsuits in the US and Canada.

The claimants are seeking damages for breach of statutory duty, interest on their losses, and additional compensation for the inflated prices paid for salmon products during and after the period of the cartel’s activities.


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