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Royal Dutch Shell accused of price fixing again

Daily Telegraph: OFT to investigate supermarkets over cigarette price fixing

By Emma Henry and agencies
Last Updated: 7:17am BST 25/04/2008

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is to investigate major supermarkets and tobacco manufacturers over alleged unlawful cigarette pricing.

In a statement, the OFT said it believed eleven retailers, including Tesco, Sainsbury and Asda, had engaged in anti-competitive pricing with manufacturers Imperial Tobacco and Gallaher.

John Fingleton, OFT Chief Executive, said: “For markets to work well for consumers, it is a fundamental principle that pricing decisions should be made independently.

“If we find evidence of anti-competitive activity, we are prepared to use the appropriate powers to punish the companies involved and to deter other businesses from taking part in such behaviour.

“If proven, the alleged practices would amount to a serious breach of the law.”

The OFT statement, which also names the Co-operative Group, First Quench, Morrisons, Safeway, Shell, Somerfield, T&S Stores, and TM Retail, alleges that these tobacco manufacturers and retailers engaged in at least one unlawful practice in relation to retail prices for some or all of a number of tobacco products in breach of the Competition Act 1998.

It said the alleged practices comprised of arrangements between each manufacturer and each retailer that restricted the ability of each of these retailers to determine its selling prices independently, by linking the retail price of a manufacturer’s brand to the retail price of a competing brand of another manufacturer.

The alleged infringements span different periods between 2000 and 2003.

Gallaher, Imperial Tobacco, Asda, Sainsbury, Shell, Somerfield and Tesco are also accused of the indirect exchange of proposed future retail prices between competitors between 2001 and 2003.

The Competition Act 1998 prohibits agreements, practices and conduct that may have a damaging effect on competition in the UK.

Headline by John Donovan of

From Wikipedia: Shell Participation in price fixing cartels and its also non-profit sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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