The European Commission has taken a significant step in its efforts to ensure fair competition in the market for spot sales of Norwegian-farmed Atlantic salmon within the European Union. The Commission has informed six prominent salmon producers – Cermaq, Grieg Seafood, Bremnes, Lerøy, Mowi, and SalMar – of its preliminary view that they may have breached EU antitrust rules by colluding to distort competition.
The Commission’s concerns revolve around the period between 2011 and 2019, during which the six companies are suspected to have exchanged commercially sensitive information. This information reportedly included details on sales prices and available volumes, actions that could potentially hinder fair competition in the market.
The alleged aim of this conduct was to reduce normal uncertainty in the market for spot sales of Norwegian-farmed Atlantic salmon into the EU. Spot sales, in this context, refer to transactions where prices, volumes, and other sales conditions are agreed upon per sale, based on the prevailing market conditions on the day of the transaction.
Norway, a major player in the global production of farmed Atlantic salmon, accounts for over half of the world’s production. The EU serves as the primary importer of Norwegian salmon, making this alleged anticompetitive conduct of particular concern to both Norwegian producers and EU consumers.
The suspected collusion specifically involves sales of fresh, whole, and gutted Atlantic salmon farmed in Norway, constituting nearly 80% of all farmed Atlantic salmon exported from the country. If proven true, this could have significant implications for the market dynamics of this widely consumed seafood product.
The European Commission emphasizes that if its preliminary view is confirmed, the alleged conduct would infringe Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Article 101 prohibits cartels and other restrictive business practices, reflecting the EU’s commitment to fostering fair competition and protecting the interests of consumers.
Source: EC Europa