Chilean supermarkets fined $12 million for chicken price-fixing

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chilean supermarket chains Cencosud, SMU and the local unit of Walmart Inc were fined $12.1 million on Thursday for participating in a scheme to fix the price of fresh chicken, according to court documents.

The companies, which have a combined market share of more than 90 percent, said they would appeal to Chile’s supreme court.

Antitrust court TDLC found that the scheme took place between 2008 and 2011, the documents seen by Reuters showed.

The TDLC fined Censosud $5.14 million, Wal-Mart Chile $4.1 million, and SMU $3 million.

Antitrust regulator the FNE brought the case in 2016 after Chilean paper manufacturer CMPC and a division of Sweden’s SCA were fined and ordered to compensate consumers for colluding for a decade to fix toilet paper prices.

The FNE had called for fines of up to $22.9 million for each supermarket chain, while Chile’s Christian Democrat Party demanded jail time.

Reporting by Aislinn Laing; Editing by Richard Chang