China fines six infant formula companies

Aug. 7, 2013 at 7:53 AM
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BEIJING, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Chinese authorities said six infant formula companies have been fined $108 million for anti-trust pricing violations.

Authorities said the companies, Biostime, Mead Johnson, Dumex, Abbott, Friesland and Fonterra, set minimum prices for distributors and punished companies that sold at lower prices, China's official news agency Xinhua reported Wednesday.

Three other companies, Wyeth, Beingmate and Meiji were not fined, because they cooperated with the investigation and took actions to correct their pricing strategies, said Xu Kunlin, the head of the Price Department at the National Development and Reform Commission.

The other companies were fined based on their willingness to cooperate and to change their pricing strategies.

The largest fine was imposed on Biostime -- 6 percent of their 2012 sales revenue -- because the company "seriously violated the anti-monopoly law and failed to actively take corrective action," Xu said.

Mead Johnson "did not actively cooperate with the investigation but did take self-rectification measures," Xu said.

Mead Johnson was given a fine equal to 4 percent of their 2012 revenue.

Dumex, Abbott, Friesland and Fonterra were given fines equal to 3 percent of their 2012 revenue, Xinhua said.

Xu said the companies harmed consumers by keeping prices artificially high.

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