Turkish retail chains object to $283 million fine, prepare for trial

Turkish supermarket chains Şok and CarrefourSA have joined rivals BIM and Migros in taking the latest antitrust move against them to court.

The Competition Authority (RK) said on Friday The country’s five largest supermarket chains were fined BIM, Migros, CarrefourSA, Şok Marketler, Yeni Mağazacılık, better known as A101, as well as supplier Savola Gıda for a total of 2.7 billion Turkish liras ($283 million) for violating antitrust regulations.

The government recently pointed the finger at major retailers, Blame them for the high prices in the country, and investigated potential exploitative prices in a price-control battle.

The watchdog alleged that the companies coordinated product prices directly or through suppliers in a way that was contrary to the interests of consumers and entered into cartel-like agreements or coordinated procedures.

The authority said in a statement that BIM was fined 958.1 million Turkish liras, Migros 517.7 million, 142.5 million liras Carrefour, and ok Marketler 384.4 million TL.

A101 and supplier Savola Gıda were fined 646.6 million TL and 33.3 million TL respectively.

In the statement made to the Public Disclosure Platform (KAP), on Sunday, Şok announced that they have been fined 384.4 million TL and that the payment of the administrative fine will be assessed after notification of the reasoned decision, and that they will use all their legal rights to annul the decision.

Earlier on Saturday, after the IAEA’s decision was announced, Migros and BIM separately announced that they would stand trial against the penalty.

Carrefour, which issued a statement on Sunday, said the company “has been operating with the right product, the right price and the right service mission since 1993,” when the first store was opened, with the strength of Turkish conglomerate Sabancı Holding and the retail experience of French Carrefour.

“We have worked hard and mobilized all our resources to meet the basic needs of our people and to reach products in the most convenient and fastest way during the pandemic process, as the entire world is suffering, facing economic difficulties and facing empty even in developed European countries due to disruptions in the supply chain,” the retailer said, adding Disruptions in global supply chains are increasing cost pressure and that rising energy prices are driving global inflation higher.

While inflation remains a stress issue in Turkey as well, Carrefour said, “We are fighting with all our might not to reflect the price increase to consumers.”

He pointed out, “We would like to announce that we do not accept any of the cases brought against our company by the competition authority, and that we will apply to the judiciary to overturn the decision in line with our legal rights.”

Earlier on Saturday, BIM, who also made a statement to KAP, said the discount retailer “has made significant contributions to reducing inflation in Turkey in the past 25 years with its low profit margin and low price policy.”

“Despite this, showing responsibility for the high cost and imposing an unprecedented amount of punishment on the cartel’s claim is unfair and does not serve the development of the investment and free market environment in our country,” she added. It is an unfair and unfair decision. For this reason, BIM will defend its rights to the end and take the decision to court in a comprehensive manner.”

The board said earlier that the fines were determined according to the revenues contained in the financial statements of the six companies for the year 2020.

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