Scotland business

East Kilbride dairy firm Robert Wiseman fined £3.2m

Wiseman lorry
Wiseman was among nine firms found by the OFT to have colluded over the price of dairy products

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has slashed a £4.2m fine imposed on Robert Wiseman Dairies for the price fixing of dairy products.

The East Kilbride firm was among four supermarkets and five dairy processors fined a total of nearly £50m by the OFT for infringements in 2002 and/or 2003.

Wiseman originally agreed to pay £6.1m for colluding over milk prices but this figure was reduced to £4.2m in 2010.

The OFT has now cut that by a further £1m to £3.2m in its final decision.

It found that Wiseman - along with Arla, Asda, Dairy Crest, McLelland, Safeway, Sainsbury's, The Cheese Company and Tesco - infringed the Competition Act by co-ordinating rises in the prices consumers paid for certain dairy products in 2002 and/or 2003.

All but Tesco received more lenient fines after admitting liability.

The OFT said: "Asda, Dairy Crest, McLelland, Safeway, Sainsbury's, The Cheese Company and Wiseman received reductions in their fines because they agreed to early resolution.

"Each of these parties admitted liability for the infringements and agreed to a streamlined procedure enabling parts of the case to be resolved more quickly, thus reducing the costs of the investigation."

Decision 'noted'

In a statement, Wiseman said it "noted" the OFT announcement.

It added: "In December 2007 the company agreed to pay a sum of £6.1m to remove the uncertainty of the investigation by reaching a settlement with the OFT.

"This sum was reduced to £4.2m in March 2010. In concluding the decision, the penalty has been further reduced to £3.2m.

"The impact of this £1m reduction will be recognised in the financial statements for the year to 31 March 2012."

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