Sugar cartel ordered to pay millions in damages

27-Jun-2023 - Germany

The major sugar producers Südzucker, Nordzucker and Pfeifer & Langen are to pay millions of euros in damages for collecting excessive sugar prices following cartel agreements, according to rulings. The Mannheim Regional Court ruled Friday that Nestlé Deutschland AG is entitled to around 8.4 million euros and Molkerei Alois Müller GmbH & Co KG to around 6.3 million euros, each plus interest in a similar amount. The judgments are not yet legally binding, as the parties can appeal, a court spokesman said.

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In its rulings, the court found that prices for processed sugar in Germany were inflated by around two percent between 1997 and September 2009 due to the sugar cartel. In doing so, it followed the assessment of an economic expert. The manufacturers denied that their customers had suffered any damage.

The lawsuits are two pilot proceedings. According to the court, around 40 antitrust lawsuits filed by various food and beverage manufacturers are pending at Mannheim Regional Court. They are claiming a total of several hundred million euros. Now the plaintiffs must decide how to proceed.

In 2014, the German Federal Cartel Office imposed fines totaling 280 million euros on the Mannheim-based manufacturers Südzucker, Nordzucker from Braunschweig and Pfeifer & Langen (Diamant-Zucker) based in Cologne for territorial, volume and price agreements. From the point of view of the Cartel Office, the companies colluded on sales territories, quotas and prices over a period of several years up to 2009.

In Cologne, among other places, there were corresponding lawsuits filed by dairies, bakery and delicatessen manufacturers, and breweries against the sugar producers. The Cologne Regional Court dismissed them in 2020./vni/kre/DP/stk (dpa)

Note: This article has been translated using a computer system without human intervention. LUMITOS offers these automatic translations to present a wider range of current news. Since this article has been translated with automatic translation, it is possible that it contains errors in vocabulary, syntax or grammar. The original article in German can be found here.

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