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Hungarian competition office exposes egg cartel

The Hungarian Competition Office (GVH) announced on Friday that the Hungarian Association of Layer Hibrid Breeders and Eggproducers and several undertakings which produce and trade with eggs infringed the provisions on the prohibition of agreements restricting economic competition of the Hungarian Competition Act and the EC Treaty. The GVH imposed fines of Ft 146.5 million.

“The Competition Council of the GVH concluded that the Hungarian Association of Layer Hibrid Breeders and Eggproducers operated a price commission, recommended minimum prices, called its member companies to increase prices, ran an authorization system of egg imports, circulated price schedules, obliged certain member companies to offer a certain proportion of their production for export," the authority said in a statement. The GVH also found that several undertakings established a joint venture, Magyar Tojás Kft, in which they operated, first, a “price commission" in order to determine selling prices and, second, a compensation mechanism in order to maintain those prices agreed upon. “The joint venture functioned as an umbrella for the cartel, rather than an efficiency-enhancing cooperation. Furthermore, several undertakings held meetings at which they exchanged sensitive information concerning their selling prices, their productions costs and stocks, thereby establishing violating the provisions of prohibition of cartels." The GVH imposed the following fines: the Association is obliged to pay Ft 120 million, the owners of the joint venture, Magyar Tojás , must altogether pay a fine of Ft 26.5 million. (