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Price-fixing parcels firms fall foul of French competition watchdog

[ December 15, 2015   //   ]

The French Competition Authority (FCA, Autorité de la Concurrence) has slapped a fine of over €672 million on 20 parcels firms for price-fixing between 2004 and 2010. The list includes many of the largest names in the industry including DHL Express, FedEx Express, TNT, Chronopost, Gefco, Geodis, GLS France, Norbert Dentressangle, Schenker, DPD, Dachser, and Ziegler.

FCA said that the offences took place under the auspices of the TLF professional grouping, which was also fined a nominal amount. Rather than preventing collusion, TLF had actively participated in the price fixing and then covered it up, according to FCA.

The competition watchdog said that TLF had organised regular round table meetings where parcels firms agreed to standardise their tariffs, discussions which were kept secret and not officially recorded. The largest fines levied were on Chronopost (€99m), DHL Express France (€81m) Geodis (€196m) and TNT (€58m). Fines were reduced by over 90% on six firms – Ciblex, Heppner, Lambert and Valletta , XP France, Transport Henri Ducros and Ziegler to take account their current financial situation and agreements not to contest sanctions.TNT issued a statement saying that said that it had co-operated with the investigation since it started in 2010 and, during the third quarter of 2014, had entered into a settlement agreement with the FCA and made provision for €50 million in its accounts.

Kuehne + Nagel, which in 2009 took over the French Alloin Group – fined €32m – said that €31m were attributable to before it took over. It said: “Kuehne + Nagel dissociates itself from such business practises, has a comprehensive compliance programme in place, which is continuously improving, and has been cooperating with the French Competition Authority since 2010. Kuehne + Nagel is reviewing all options, including an appeal against the decision as well as a recourse against the sellers.”

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