* Danone, Nestle, Mead Johnson, Abbott cooperating with
* Danone shares down 1.5 pct, Nestle shares off 0.8 pct
(Recasts with statements from Abbott, Mead Johnson, share price
SHANGHAI, July 2 Infant formula makers Nestle SA
, Danone, Mead Johnson Nutrition Co
and Abbott Laboratories confirmed on Tuesday that they
are being investigated by
China's top economic planning agency for possible antitrust
The companies said they were cooperating with China's
National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) in its
investigation into possible price-fixing and anti-competitive
Mead Johnson, whose shares were down about 6 percent in New
York, said it was "fully cooperating" with the antitrust review
and would provide information in response to inquiries received
from government officials.
Officials at Danone, Abbott, Nestle and Wyeth Nutrition also
said they were cooperating. Officials at the NDRC were not
available to comment.
Abbott shares were down 0.8 percent in afternoon trade in
New York, while Danone shares closed down 1.5 percent in Paris.
Nestle shares fell 0.8 percent.
Foreign infant formula is highly coveted in China, since
public trust was damaged by a 2008 tainted infant formula
scandal that left at least six children dead. Foreign brands now
account for about half of total sales.
The Beijing Times, which first reported the probe, said the
investigations came to light after a Hong Kong-listed infant
nutrition manufacturer Biostime International Holdings
said last Thursday that its Guangzhou unit was under
investigation by the NDRC for an alleged violation of China
"The main purpose of the investigation is in relation to an
alleged violation of Article 14 of Anti-Monopoly Law of the
People's Republic of China by Biostime Guangzhou in managing the
market sales prices at which the distributors and retail sales
organizations sell our products," the company said in a filing
to the Hong Kong stock exchange.
(Reporting by Melanie Lee and Shanghai Newsroom, Additional
reporting by Dominique Vidalon in Paris and Martinne Geller in
New York, Editing by Kazunori Takada, Michael Perry, Mark Potter
and Bernard Orr)