EU regulators fine Riberebro 5.2 mln euros for mushroom cartel

BRUSSELS, April 6 (Reuters) - European Union antitrust regulators handed down a 5.2-million-euro ($5.9 million) fine to Spanish canned vegetables producer Grupo Riberebro on Wednesday for taking part in a canned mushrooms cartel together with three other companies.

“Access to food at competitive prices is essential for European consumers. The cartel for canned mushrooms affected sales to retailers throughout Europe,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

Unlike French peer Bonduelle and Dutch company Prochamp, which admitted to taking part in the cartel in 2014 in return for a 10 percent cut in the fine to 32.2 million euros, Riberebro chose to fight the EU charges.

Dutch producer Lutece escaped a fine because it alerted the cartel to the regulator. The Commission said the cartel wanted to stabilise their market shares and stop falling prices. ($1 = 0.8807 euros) (Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)