Commission opens investigation into possible Casino and Intermarché collusion

The European Commission announced on Monday the opening of an investigation into anti-competitive practices to determine whether the French retail groups Casino and Intermarché coordinated their behavior in violation of European Union competition rules.

Commission opens investigation into possible Casino and Intermarché collusion

The European Commission announced on Monday the opening of an investigation into anti-competitive practices to determine whether the French retail groups Casino and Intermarché coordinated their behavior in violation of European Union competition rules.

Casino and Intermarché, two of the main retail chains in France, created in November 2014 a joint purchasing center, called INCAA. Casino then turned to Auchan for a global merger.

The Commission is concerned that Casino and Intermarché have gone beyond the objective of their alliance and have engaged in anti-competitive behavior.

“Purchasing alliances have become essential for large retail chains. They make it possible to offer better prices for food and hygiene brand products, which consumers buy on a daily basis ”, underlines Margrethe Verstager, European Commissioner in charge of Competition.

Opening of formal proceedings

“However, such advantages can quickly disappear if retailers use these alliances to agree on their sales activities. Consequently, the Commission’s investigation will aim to determine whether Casino and Intermarché have coordinated their activities in an anti-competitive manner ”, she adds in the Commission press release.

The European executive had conducted searches last May as part of its preliminary investigation into mass distribution groups.

The Commission says its priority now is to carry out an in-depth investigation into this case, but recalls that “the opening of a formal investigation procedure does not prejudge its outcome”.

(with Reuters)