A competition appeal committee has ruled to revoke the decision of the Icelandic Competition Authority to fine MS Iceland Dairies (Mjólkursamsalan) ISK 480 million (USD 4.2 million, USD 4 million) for violating anti-trust law, RÚV reports. The committee was split on whether MS had misused its position in a serious way by selling its competitors basic ingredients for dairy production at an excessively high price, while MS and its associates purchased those ingredients below cost. The majority of the committee concluded that MS had not violated anti-trust law.
For withholding important information from the Competition Authority, the appeal committee confirmed that MS should be fined ISK 40 million (USD 352,000, EUR 331,000).
Last night, the Icelandic Federation of Trade (Félag atvinnurekenda) urged the newly elected members of Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament, to revoke the exemption that the dairy industry now enjoys from anti-trust law.
MS, on the other hand, welcomed the ruling.
No decision has been made regarding whether the Competition Authority will refer the ruling to the courts. Páll Gunnar Pálsson, CEO of the Competition Authority maintains the ruling will have a negative impact on competition markets, if it is allowed to stand.
He stated that the committee’s interpretation of the interplay between agricultural law and anti-trust law suggests that the legal protection of competitors, consumers and farmers has been severely limited. That legal protection had been provided by the ban against misusing your market position.