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Israel Competition Authority Announces Hearings for Supermarket CEOs on Cartel Allegations

 |  June 19, 2024

The Israel Competition Authority has announced today that it will be giving hearings to key executives from two major supermarket chains, Yochananof and Victory, before potentially filing indictments against them on suspicions of engaging in cartel arrangements.

Eitan Yochananof, the CEO and owner of the Yochananof marketing chain, along with his deputy Elad Harazi and Ephraim Tshuva, the manager of the Super Bareket supermarket chain, are among those being given a hearing. The Yochananof chain itself is also under scrutiny. In a related announcement, Eyal Ravid, the CEO and owner of the Victory supermarket chain, is also facing allegations of cartel activities.

Both Victory and Yochananof have promptly notified the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) about the Israel Competition Authority’s supermarket cartel hearings announcement.

Allegations and Investigations

Eyal Ravid, who has been under investigation by the Competition Authority six times in recent years, is suspected of coordinating with Harazi to avoid offering promotions during periods of market stagnation, thereby protecting their market shares. This alleged agreement involved setting prices to ensure they did not decrease, constituting suspected cartel offenses. Eitan Yochananof is facing allegations of managerial responsibility in relation to these activities.

Further allegations against Ravid include accusations of indirect price-fixing through suppliers. According to Section 6 of the law on promoting competition in the food industry, retailers are prohibited from interfering with the consumer prices set by other retailers. Ravid is suspected of coordinating with suppliers to ensure uniform price increases across retailers, including with competitors such as Rami Levy and Yochananof. Intercepted conversations suggest Ravid requested suppliers, including those from Dr. Fisher, Beit Hashita, and Schestowitz, to ensure price stability. The Competition Authority has clarified that these companies are not suspects, as the prohibition targets the retailers.

Related news: Israeli Regulator Raids Supermarket Chains

Source: En Globes Co