A fine initially imposed on Fresh Del Monte and German distributor Weichert in 2008 for fixing banana prices in the EU between 2000 and 2002, has been increased by the EU Court of Justice following an ill-fated appeal by Del Monte.
In 2008, the EU General Court gave Del Monte and its distributor Fruchtimport Gesellschaft Weichert a fine of €14.7m over the banana cartel, with Dole Food Company fined €45.6m. Chiquita was also accused of being part of the price-fixing scheme, but was given immunity as the group actually brought the issue to authorities' attention.
However, in 2013 Del Monte secured a reduction in its fine to €8.82m from the EU General Court, citing mitigating circumstances and its own cooperation with regulators.
Del Monte sought to go further and have the previous judgement set aside, arguing that it did not form an administrative unit at the time the alleged price-fixing took place, when it held an 80 per cent stake in Weichert.
However, in assessing the judgement, the High Court actually found that the EU General Court had made an error in reducing the fine to €8.82m, and instead recommended an increase in the Del Monte/Weichert fine up to €9.8m, as well as ordering the two companies to pay their respective appeal costs.