German cartel office fines Nestle 20 mln euros

FRANKFURT, March 27 Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:24am EDT

FRANKFURT, March 27 (Reuters) - Nestle, the world's biggest food company, has been fined around 20 million euros ($25.7 million) in Germany for improper sharing of information sensitive to competition, the country's federal cartel office said on Wednesday.

The information exchanged involved products such as confectionary, hot drinks, pet food and frozen pizzas.

"High ranking sales staff from the company met for regular talks over a period of years and exchanged information on negotiations with retailers and also, to a certain extent, on planned price increases," cartel office President Andreas Mundt said in a statement.

A spokesman for Nestle Germany said the company felt the accusations of the watchdog were unjustified and that it would appeal the decision.

The German units of Kraft Foods, Unilever and Dr Oetker were already fined around 38 million euros as part of the same investigation in 2011.

Nestle's fine was reduced because it cooperated in the investigation.

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