U.S. companies drawn into U.K. probe

Marketplace Staff Apr 29, 2008
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U.S. companies drawn into U.K. probe

Marketplace Staff Apr 29, 2008
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TEXT OF STORY

Renita Jablonski: Some of the biggest consumer product companies in the U.S. are under investigation in the U.K. From London, Stephen Beard reports.


Stephen Beard: Companies like Coca-Cola, Proctor & Gamble and Kimberley-Clark have been caught up in a wide-ranging inquiry. The allegation is that Britain’s big supermarket chains have been colluding with major manufacturers. It’s claimed that between them they could have fixed the price of goods like groceries, batteries, razor blades and soap powder. The probe was apparently prompted by the recent steep increase in food prices. The claim is that the big supermarkets have imposed identical price hikes. For example: 51 percent in the case of dried spaghetti. Analyst Julian Chillingworth:

Julian Chillingworth: Obviously, the concern is: What is driving the inflationary spiral up? Is it people colluding to push prices higher or is it true rising costs from raw materials?

Any company found guilty of price-fixing could be fined up to 10 percent of the value of their annual sales.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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