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French parcel companies fined €672m for price fixing

French parcel companies fined €672m for price fixing

The French Competition Authority (Autorite de la Concurrence) - the country's competition watchdog - has fined a number of parcel delivery services €672.3m for colluding to fix prices.

The watchdog said 20 companies - including divisions of DHL, Keuhne & Nagel, FedEx and TNT - worked together to coordinate annual rate increases from 2004 to 2010, and that many of them also colluded on a fuel surcharge from 2004 to 2006. The companies include units of Deutsche Post AG’s DHL, FedEx Corp. and TNT Express NV.

Geodis SA was fined the greatest single amount (€196.1m) ahead of Chronopost (€99.2). DHL  was fined €81.2m, TNT €58.5, and FedEx €17m.

The full list of the companies under investigation is:

  • Alloin Holding
  • BMVirolle
  • Chronopost
  • DPD France SAS (ex Exapaq)
  • Ciblex France
  • Dachser France
  • DHL Express France
  • FedEx Express (France) SAS
  • Gefco
  • Geodis
  • General Logistics Systems France
  • Heppner Société de Transports
  • Lambert et Valette – Entreprise de Transports
  • XP France
  • Norbert Dentressangle Distribution
  • Normatrans
  • Schenker France
  • TNT Express France
  • Transports H Ducros
  • Ziegler France
  • TLF

The regulator said: "Meetings were organised regularly after new pricing rounds, which enabled the companies to homogenise their price demands and secure their commercial negotiations. The decisions were kept secret and no official records were taken."

In a statement emailed to SHD Logistics from its Switzerland-based corporate communications team, Kuehne + Nagel said:

"Kuehne + Nagel was informed about today's decision of the French Competition Authority regarding the parcel delivery logistics market in France, which inter alia includes French Alloin Group, a company which was acquired by Kuehne + Nagel in 2009.

"Regarding the fine of €32m for the Alloin Group, approximately €31m are attributable to the time before the acquisition of the Alloin Group by Kuehne + Nagel. Kuehne + Nagel dissociates itself from such business practises, has a comprehensive compliance programme in place, which is continuously improving, and has been cooperating with the French Competition Authority since 2010.

"Kuehne + Nagel is reviewing all options, including an appeal against the decision as well as a recourse against the sellers."

We are awaiting comment from several of the other companies mentioned in the watchdog's decision.

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