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5 confectionery firms fined 135 bln won for price fixing

All News 12:00 February 17, 2022

SEOUL, Feb. 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's antitrust regulator said Thursday it has decided to impose a combined 135 billion won (US$112.9 million) in fines on Lotte Confectionery Co. and four other snack manufacturers for fixing sales prices of ice creams.

The five snack makers, also including Binggrae Co. and Haitai Confectionery & Foods Co., colluded between February 2016 and October 2019 to fix supply and sales prices of ice creams and divide retail channels for distribution, according to the Fair Trade Commission (FTC).

The collusion came as the country's major confectionery makers saw their profitability deteriorate amid a fall in demand due to the shrinking number of children, their major target consumers, and a decline in retail channels, such as supermarkets.

No. 2 industry player Binggrae is expected to be slapped with the largest fine of 38.8 billion won, followed by Haitai Confectionery with 24.5 billion won.

Along with the fines, the FTC plans to file a complaint with the prosecution against Binggrae and Lotte Foods Co., a food making unit of retail giant Lotte Group.

The regulator said it has decided to take such stern measures as they repeated the price collusion despite the commission's similar punitive actions in 2007.

This image, provided by Yonhap News TV, shows the Korea Fair Trade Commission in the central administrative city of Sejong. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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