Belgium instructs cigarette manufacturers to exchange price information


By Marine Strauss

BRUSSELS, October 1 (Reuters)The Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) announced on Friday that it had accused four cigarette manufacturers of violating competition law by exchanging information on future prices with wholesalers.

The authority said in a statement that the companies were subsidiaries of Philip Morris PM.N, Imperial Marks IMB.L, Japan Tobacco 2914.T and British American Tobacco BAT.L, representing 90% of cigarette consumption in Belgium.

“The competition prosecutor alleges the existence of anti-competitive practices which lasted for several years and consisted of repeated exchanges of information on their future prices via wholesalers,” the BCA said in an e-mailed statement.

She said that, through the wholesalers, they received information on future prices from competitors.

An official investigation began in May 2017, followed by searches a month later as part of the investigation.

(Reporting by Marine Strauss @StraussMarine; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)

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