France-based Groupe Guillin appeals nearly €3M fine for its alleged role in fruit packaging price fixing ring during 1999-2007 because its subsidiary Veripack only acquired cartel member Autobar Packaging Spain in 2006

LOS ANGELES , January 27, 2012 () –

Groupe Guillin has filed an appeal of a decision by a Spanish antitrust body to fine it nearly €3 million (US$4.0 million) for its alleged part in a fruit packaging price-fixing ring in 1999 to 2007, reported Food Production Daily on Jan. 27.

The Ornans, France-based packaging company confirmed that it had filed the appeal with the Comision Nacional de la Competencia (CNC) in Madrid in an effort to “claim its rights.”

Groupe Guillin said it had owned accused cartel member Autobar Packaging Spain for a short time during the eight-year period the cartel allegedly operated. Groupe Guillin subsidiary Veripack bought Autobar Packaging Spain in 2006.

The company believes that it is “not liable for his [sic] predecessor’s doings, namely Autobar Packaging Spain, a company that is still running,” according to a Groupe Guillin statement sent to Food Production Daily.

Because of its limited ownership during the period, Groupe Guillin said that it questions the size of the fine and why it should be held responsible for the actions of previous owners.

The ruling was handed down last month by the CNC after an 18-month investigation that found three companies in direct contravention of Spain’s Competition Act 15/2007, Food Production Daily reported.

Groupe Guillin received the biggest fine among the three, after the €8.3-million penalty imposed on U.K.-based Linpac Group, which was accused through its ownership of Spain-based Infia, was dropped because the company had blown the whistle on the cartel, reported Food Production Daily.

The third company accused was Italy-based Ilpa, which received a €1.1-million fine. Ilpa also has filed an appeal.

Veripack was penalized €2.8 million, of which Groupe Guillin would be jointly and severally liable for €2.2 million.

Groupe Guillin declined to comment when asked if it had been aware of the price-fixing activities, the date it discovered them and if it had notified authorities.

The primary source of this article is Food Production Daily, Montpellier, France, on Jan. 27, 2012.


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