German flour mills fined for anti-competitive behaviour

Hamburg / Reuters /German cartel agency BKA has imposed 41 million euros ($54.7 million) in fines on 22 flour mills and the German flour mills association for anti-competitive behaviour.

BKA said it levied the fines for agreements in the marketing of flour.

The investigation started in 2008 with searches of flour mills, and previous fines were imposed in 2011, the agency said Feb. 19.

The investigation had been started following indications that mills were agreeing on prices and market sales volumes, the BKA said.

“Persons in authority in mills had since 2001 held regular discussion meetings in which flour prices, allocation of customers and sales volumes were agreed,” BKA president Andreas Mundt said in a statement.

The agreements included deliveries to large industrial customers, bakeries and retailers, it said.

Mills have a right to appeal. Details of individual fines were not given.

The agency on Jan. 31 fined 11 chocolate and confectionery makers a total of 60 million euros for anti-competitive behaviour.

Cereal production will rise in 2013

rome / reuters / Cereal crop levels are expected to pick up strongly in 2013, a senior economist at the Food and Agriculture Organization said March 7, but added that any fall in food prices in the coming months could be limited to grains.

“It increasingly looks like the 2013 cereal crops are going to be far better than 2012,” FAO economist Abdolreza Abbassian told Reuters. “As far as wheat is concerned, we are expecting quite a rebound… and the corn situation is improving as well,” he said.

He saw potential for declines in food prices in 2013 after a stabilization in February, but falls may be limited to cereals prices, he said, with meat and dairy prices supported by firm demand.

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