Ginger Developments Limited (who purchased the
business formerly trading as George L Ballantyne); Grahams Dairies
Limited; Quothquan Farms Ltd; A Renfrew & Sons Limited; Scottish
Milk Dairies Limited together with First Milk Limited; and Robert
Wiseman & Sons Ltd together with Robert Wiseman Dairies plc.
Allegation that processing dairies colluded to fix prices and
share markets for the sale of fresh processed milk to middle-ground
customers in Scotland.
Chapter I Competition Act 1998.
Case closure summary
In April 2001, the OFT opened a formal investigation into alleged price
fixing and market sharing by milk processors in Scotland. This initial
investigation was closed in October 2002 as the OFT considered that it
had insufficient evidence of an infringement and the case did not look
sufficiently promising to warrant further resources being committed.
Following receipt of further information, the OFT re-opened its
investigation in May 2003 and, as a result of that investigation, issued
a Statement of Objections (SO) in September 2006 setting out its
provisional findings that the six processing dairies listed above (the
Parties) had committed an infringement. The alleged infringement
involved an agreement and/or concerted practice to fix prices and share
markets between 2000 and 2003, in contravention of Chapter I of the
Competition Act 1998. Not every dairy processor was alleged to have
participated in every year or in every aspect of the alleged
After the OFT issued the SO, the Parties had the opportunity to make
representations on the OFT's provisional findings. The OFT received
extensive representations from the Parties including new evidence. The
OFT reviewed all the representations received and also undertook further
investigative enquiries in light of some of the new evidence that had
been put forward by some of the Parties.
The OFT has decided, after consultation, that the evidence now in its
possession can no longer sustain a finding of infringement as set out in
the SO. In addition, again after consultation, the OFT has also decided
that further investigation would not successfully enable it to adopt an
infringement as set out in the SO and that further investigation of any
of the matters raised by the investigation would not be an appropriate
use of its resources. In particular, the OFT does not consider it likely
that in the foreseeable future significant new evidence relating to the
conduct the subject of the SO will come to light. Whilst there remains
evidence on the OFT's file of behaviour by some market participants
which may potentially have infringed the Chapter I prohibition, further
investigation would be required to bring an infringement decision and
the OFT does not consider, not least given the passage of time, the
nature of the evidence collected to date and the resources that would be
required and its other priorities, that it should devote further
resources to such further investigation.
Case reference: CE/3117-03