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France Fines 20 Courier Companies for Around $739 Million

Fine pertains to fixing price increases for parcel delivery services for six years

Cargo is unloaded on the hold of a Boeing 747 jet at TNT’s European mail hub, at Liege Airport in Belgium, on July 3, 2015. France’s antitrust watchdog is imposing fines on 20 courier companies for fixing price increases for parcel delivery services for six years. ENLARGE

Cargo is unloaded in the hold of a Boeing 747 jet at TNT’s European mail hub, at Liege Airport in Belgium, on July 3, 2015. France’s antitrust watchdog is imposing fines on 20 courier companies for fixing price increases for parcel delivery services for six years. Photo: Bloomberg News

PARIS—France’s antitrust watchdog on Tuesday fined 20 courier companies a combined €672 million ($739 million) for fixing price increases for parcel delivery services for six years.

Royal Mail

Executives at a number of courier service companies, including Federal Express, Deutsche Post DHL courier, U.K.’s Royal Mail and TNT, routinely met within the sidelines associated with an industry group to debate and decide on annual price increases imposed on customers between September 2004 and September 2010, the watchdog alleged.

The Biggest of Fines in France!

“The behavior is serious on the national level and affected a vital sector on the French economy,” antitrust chief Bruno Lasserre said.

The fines include the second highest imposed because of the Autorité de la Concurrence since independent body was made in 2008. The antitrust watchdog has embarked over a series of cartel-busting operations ever since then, cracking documented on dairies, flour mills, mobile telephone operators and laundry soap makers, and the like.

 

The French antitrust authority opened an investigation around the parcel delivery market in France in 2008 after DB Schenker, a unit of German railway operator Deutsche Bahn, warned an illegal agreement scheme was under way also it could provide information in substitution for leniency.

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The investigators found more than 20 firms in the market would consent to fix the annual price increases imposed each September on small customers, the authority said. For large customers, the value increase was the beginning for negotiations that might last many months.

Documents Seized from Headquarters

According to documents seized during searches with the headquarters on the different companies along with the industry group, several officials knew we were holding violating other sellers rules and concealed the actual purpose on the meetings.

Parcel delivery companies eventually stopped the value-rigging, but only after competition authority conducted searches in late 2010.

The largest courier firm in France, Geodis SA, a unit of French state-owned railway operator SNCF, received the very best fine of €196 million. The company said hello would contest the choice. Fines were reduced for businesses that didn’t contest the allegations.

FedEx tracking, that has been fined €17 million, said the antitrust investigation relevant to a company which it acquired in 2012, and then renamed FedEx Express France. Deutsche Post DHL, which had been fined €81 million, declined to comment.

TNT, that has been fined €58 million, said hello would review the choice but had provisioned €50 million to get a potential fine. Royal Mail PLC stated it has accepted a €55.one million fine.

DB Schenker, which blew the whistle within the alleged price fixing, was fined €3 million as being the company didn’t fulfill it’s commitments, the authority said. The firm declined to comment. Don’t forget to go through BSNL customer care number too.

The antitrust authorities also imposed a €1.4 million fine on 15 of France’s courier companies that have agreed on price adjustments associated with fuel prices between May 2004 and January 2006.

United Parcel Service, which holds an important market share in France, didn’t participate in the value-fixing scheme, the watchdog said. You can follow our blog for more such news!

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