The UK Office of Fair Trading accused major manufacturers and retailers of tobacco products of unfair pricing and fined them. The amount of fines amounted to 225 million pounds (328.7 million US dollars) reports Wall Street Journal.
Companies are reported to Imperial Tobacco Group Plc и Gallaher Group Plc entered into tacit agreements with retailers of tobacco products such as Asda - a chain of supermarkets owned Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and safeway - network William Morrison Supermarkets Plc. The essence of the agreements was to fix prices for certain types of tobacco products depending on the prices of competing brands, which limited the ability of retailers to freely set prices and caused fines.
About a dozen other manufacturers and retailers were also fined, some of them with reduced fines due to their cooperation with regulators. A retailer J Sainsbury Plc and even received immunity, speaking in this case in the honorary role of an informant.
Representatives of the Agency say that such fines will be an example for manufacturers of other products, showing that various dubious agreements can turn into big trouble for both parties.