The European Commission announced Monday the opening of an investigation into anticompetitive practices to determine whether French mass-market groups Casino and Intermarché have coordinated their behavior in violation of EU competition rules.
Casino and Intermarché, two of the largest retail chains in France, created in November 2014 a joint purchasing center, called INCAA. Casino then turned to Auchan for a global rapprochement.
The Commission is concerned that Casino and Intermarché have gone beyond the objective of their alliance and have engaged in anti-competitive behavior.
“Purchasing alliances have become essential for mass-market chains, offering better prices for food and hygiene products that consumers buy every day,” said Margrethe Verstager, European Commissioner responsible for food and hygiene. Competition.
Opening of a formal procedure
“Such benefits may, however, disappear rapidly if retailers use these alliances to agree on their sales activities, so the Commission's investigation will determine whether Casino and Intermarché have co-ordinated their activities in an anti-competitive manner,” he added. she said in the Commission's press release.
The European executive had carried out searches last May as part of its preliminary investigation on retail groups.
The Commission says that it is now a priority to carry out an in-depth investigation into this matter but points out that “the opening of a formal investigation procedure does not prejudge its outcome”.