Nestlé, Mars, Colgate-Palmolive fined combined €35.3M by France's antitrust authority for pressuring their distributors to keep prices high for pet food

LOS ANGELES , March 20, 2012 () – Nestlé SA, Mars Inc. and Colgate-Palmolive Co. have been fined a combined €35.3 million (US$46.7 million) by France’s antitrust authority for pressuring their distributors to keep prices high for pet food, The Wall Street Journal reported March 20.

France's Autorité de la Concurrence said while the companies didn’t operate a cartel, it detailed "vertical agreements" between the three companies and their respective wholesalers that "limited competition on the markets for dry food for dogs and cats" between 2004 and 2008.

The authority said that Nestlé Purina Petcare France SAS and Mars unit Royal Canin SAS fixed their respective distributor's prices, taking over most of their commercial policies and pushing competing products off their shelves.

Meanwhile, according to the authority, Colgate-Palmolive's Hill's Pet Nutrition SNC unit forbid its wholesalers from exporting products without the U.S. company's prior explicit consent, according to the antitrust authority.

Nestlé was fined just over €19 million, and the Mars and Colgate-Palmolive units will have to pay €11.6 million and €4.7 million, respectively.

Mars is considering an appeal while Colgate said it is reviewing the decision.

The primary source of this article is The Wall Street Journal, New York, New York, on March 20, 2012.

* All content is copyrighted by Industry Intelligence, or the original respective author or source. You may not recirculate, redistrubte or publish the analysis and presentation included in the service without Industry Intelligence's prior written consent. Please review our terms of use.