Chiquita Brands responds to EC investigation
Chiquita Brands International Inc., a producer, marketer and distributor of bananas and other fresh produce, said it is cooperating with an investigation that the European Commission is conducting for possible violations of European competition law.
'As a result of the company's internal compliance program, the company's management recently became aware that certain of its employees had shared pricing and volume information over many years with competitors in Europe, and may have engaged in other conduct in violation of European competition laws and company policy,' Chiquita Brands said in a statement.
'The company promptly stopped the conduct and after consultation with its board of directors, notified the European Commission of these matters. The company will continue to cooperate with the related investigation,' the statement said.
Chiquita Brands said the European Commission has granted the company 'immunity from any fines related to the conduct.'
The company also noted that its investigation had revealed that 'certain of its employees in one Latin American country shared information with competitors regarding the volume of fruit shipped from that country to North America.'
Chiquita Brands explained that although it 'did not believe that such conduct had any anticompetitive effects,' it has 'discontinued the conduct and notified the appropriate regulatory authorities in the United States and Canada.'