French daily newspaper Le Figaro reported earlier today that the Autorité de la Concurrence is ready to conclude its three-year investigation into allegations of price fixing by a number of France's leading yogurt manufacturers.
Several companies, including Lactalis, Yoplait, Novandie and Senoble, allegedly held meetings in hotels, kept secret records, and used a telephone registered in the name of the partner of one conspirator to exchange “sensitive information.”
Speaking with DairyReporter.com, an Autorité de la Concurrence spokesperson confirmed such an investigation was on-going, but refused to discuss the details.
"We cannot comment because it is a current investigation," said the spokesperson. "We will make a statement when it is completed, but for now we cannot comment."
Autorité de la Concurrence will conclude its investigation "soon," the spokesperson added.
"Coordinated on price"
Lactalis, Yoplait, Novandie, Senoble, and some smaller French yogurt manufacturers are alleged to have coordinated on price increases, the implementation of such price hikes, and the development of arguments to justify the action.
Citing Autorité de la Concurrence documents, Le Figaro reported that the companies in question met with Autorité de la Concurrence representatives in November 2014 in an attempt to defuse the situation.
DairyReporter.com approached Lactalis, Yoplait, Novandie and Senoble regarding the allegations.
Novandie, the company behind the Mamie Nova brand, declined to comment.
"Management doesn't want to speak about that," a spokesperson said. "Not at the moment."
Lactalis, Yoplait and Senoble failed to respond prior to publication of this article.