By Christine Cornelius and Sönke Möhl
Mannheim. Sugar is in countless products – and usually that’s a cause for celebration for the manufacturer Südzucker, Nordzucker and Pfeifer & amp; Langen (diamond sugar). Currently, however, this also means that there is a long list of applicants from the food industry against them.
The three companies have divided in the opinion of the Federal Cartel Office over many years sales territories among themselves, thereby preventing price competition. 2014 required the Authority the company therefore to pay 280 million euros fine. Since then accumulate the actions of companies who are convinced that they have paid too much for the sugar in their products.
At the beginning of the process between the Goldeck Süßwaren GmbH (brand Zetti) and Südzucker before the Mannheim Regional Court on Friday, the basic problem of all proceedings in this case is clear: the defendant sugar manufacturer says, the prices on the regulated sugar market would not have been different without the cartel with an economic loss was not incurred by the customer. A Goldeck attorney rejected this: “When you are a customer of a cartel, one is affected by the cartel.” The confectionery manufacturer wants more than 900,000 euros in damages plus interest from the years 2000-2010 erstreiten
The presiding judge suggested -. As in any other process – turn an appraiser that will clarify the question of whether a damage has occurred or not. Both sides got to change your mind, the next hearing is on October 21.
A Südzucker spokesman said before the start of the trial, his company take each of these processes very seriously. “All our customers can decide whether they want to sue or not, of course, we say.. Here there is no damage” The theme is very dominant to the public. “It will occupy us in the coming years.”
Nordzucker and Pfeifer & amp; Langen Südzucker have connected in the Mannheim process to intervene. Interveners may participate from their own legal interest in a process without themselves being directly affected.
Because of prohibited agreements also has Germany’s largest cooperative dairy DMK filed an antitrust damages claims to. The customers demand sum could fine the Cartel still exceed: After the newspaper “Handelsblatt” there are more than 35 applicants who require a total of half a billion euros
But the Landgericht Mannheim are because of. sugar cartel allegations so far more than 20 lawsuits pending. In Hannover there were last 8 methods in Cologne 4.
The direct economic damage to the sugar producers would be more serious than the loss of image from the perspective of Düsseldorf Antitrust experts Johann Brück. “The consumer takes the note and change his behavior hardly,” he said. The product Sugar prices are few alternatives
The number of major company name is long. The brands Bauer, Ehrmann and Zentis about seek collective redress before the Cologne Regional Court in the amount of nearly 119 million euros. The Print Manufacturer Lambertz complains to 11.6 million euros. Krombacher / Schweppes wants one million euros.