A PYMNTS Company

UK Consumers Seek £382 Million Over Alleged Salmon Price-Fixing

 |  June 23, 2024

A major legal firm is seeking £382 million in compensation for British consumers, targeting some of the world’s largest salmon producers accused of price fixing. The legal action, filed this week at the Competition Appeal Tribunal, claims that UK consumers overpaid for at least four years due to alleged breaches of competition law by several prominent fish firms.

The defendants in the case include Mowi and its subsidiary Mowi Holdings, SalMar, Lerøy, Scottish Sea Farms, and Grieg. According to the lawsuit, these companies engaged in anti-competitive practices that artificially inflated the price of farmed Atlantic salmon by up to 20%.

The European Commission’s preliminary ruling in January 2023 found that Norwegian-owned producers Lerøy, SalMar, Grieg, Mowi, and two other firms, Cermaq and Bremnes, had breached competition rules. The ruling stated that these companies colluded on the sale of Atlantic salmon in Europe from 2011 to 2019. This alleged cartel behaviour drove up prices and impacted millions of consumers.

Senior executives at the implicated companies are accused of orchestrating the price-fixing scheme through email correspondence and various meetings, including “working dinners”. The legal firm Simmons and Simmons, which filed the action, claims that the cartel’s actions led to significant overcharging for consumers who purchased salmon for personal consumption between October 2015 and May 2019.

Related: European Commission Raids Consultancy Firm in Tire Price-Fixing Probe

Anne Heal, the former Director of Regulatory Affairs at BT, has been appointed head of Waterside, the group established to lead the claim. Heal, who previously headed the Thames Water Customer Challenge Group, an independent body representing the utility firm’s customers, emphasized the seriousness of the allegations.

“This action claims that some of the Atlantic salmon farming industry’s biggest companies have conspired to raid the wallets of hard-working shoppers,” Heal stated. “We are determined to secure justice for the millions of consumers who have been overcharged due to these unfair practices.”

The lawsuit comes at a time when UK supermarket chains are also grappling with food shortages. In February, major retailers like Asda and Morrisons began rationing tomatoes and other salad items due to extreme weather affecting harvests in Spain and North Africa.

Source: The Guardian