On March 24, 2021, the FCA sanctioned[1] three manufacturers of industrial sandwiches sold under private labels, La Toque Angevine (“LTA”), Daunat, and Roland Monterrat, for fixing prices and market allocation in France.

The three companies participated in tenders to supply large food retailers and gas stations with industrial sandwiches under private labels. Between 2010 and 2016, they agreed not to engage in price competition.[2] In practice, the companies’ directors (or sometimes an employee) and a business manager would exchange price information through regular calls, meetings, and emails, and then adjust their prices accordingly when submitting a tender offer. To avoid suspicion, they used code names to refer to their rivals, appointed a lead manager to better organize their meetings, and maintained trackers to monitor their offers.[3] The companies also exchanged their negotiation status with large food retailers regarding price evolutions for ongoing contracts.[4]

The FCA also noted that LTA, Daunat, and Roland Monterrat accounted for almost 90% of the French market, which allowed them to increase their prices without fear of retaliation from their competitors.[5]

The FCA granted full immunity to Roland Monterrat as it was the first company to file for leniency. LTA and Daunat both requested leniency as well, in second and third position, and respectively received a 35% and a 30% fine reduction, due to the added value of their disclosures. LTA and Daunat both submitted applications within a couple of hours of one another, but that small time difference was sufficient to determine which company would benefit from the greatest fine reduction.[6] Daunat also benefitted from the “leniency plus” policy, which the FCA applied for the first time in 2018,[7] and thus received an additional €5 million fine reduction, because it provided additional evidence, such as a detailed account of the meetings. The FCA eventually imposed a fine of €24,574,000 on Daunat and LTA.[8]

[1] FCA Decision no. 21-D-09 of March 24, 2021 (the “Decision”), para. 364. The FCA imposed a fine of €15.6 million on La Toque Angevine and €9 million on Daunat. The fines amount to a total of €24.6 million.

[2] Decision, para. 44.

[3] Decision, paras. 47-53 and 240.

[4] Decision, para. 99.

[5] Decision, paras. 246 and 263.

[6] Decision, paras. 340-341.

[7] FCA, Decision no. 18-D-24 of December 5, 2018 on practices implemented in the household appliances sector.

[8] LTA was fined €15,574,000 and Daunat was fined €9 million. See Decision, para. 364.