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Arla probe reveals milk monopoly plans

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Arla probe reveals milk monopoly plans
16:24 CEST+02:00
Scandinavian dairy producer Arla Foods was engaged in a plan to “completely shut competing companies out of the market”, Swedish competition authorities allege.

But Arla denies the charges, which came to light on Wednesday in court documents filed by the Swedish Competition Authority (Konkurrensverket).

In April, the competition agency carried out a raid of Arla Food offices in Sweden and Denmark as part of a probe into suspected crimes against competition rules in relation to Arla’s relationship with the Coop and Axfood grocery chains.

Documents recovered in the raid indicate that Arla has a comprehensive plan to crush competing food companies by including clauses in its contracts forcing retailers to exclude the competition.

In a brief submitted to the Stockholm District Court reviewed by The Local, the Competition Authority writes that letters of intent were signed “with Netto, Bergendahlsgruppen and/or Lidl, and that Arla was negotiating on and eventually entered into a contract with Ica”, referring to several major food retailers in Sweden.

The documents were found on computers in Arla offices searched as a part of the April raid.

Arla, however, remains doubtful of the agency’s allegations.

“I don’t understand where this is coming from. Our only ambition is to serve our customers in the best way possible,” said Tobias Wåhlén, head of external communications at Arla Foods, to the Aftonbladet newspaper.

“We can’t see how there are any grounds for these suspicions.”

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