The Competition Council (CC) has launched an investigation on the market for the production and marketing of eggs in Romania.
The competition authority suspects the limitation of the eggs supply for consumption by the most important egg suppliers, with the involvement of the association in the field, in order to artificially increase the prices of the products marketed by them.
The investigation was triggered by a preliminary analysis of the egg market initiated by the Competition Council upon the request of the Ministry of Agriculture to investigate the causes of the price increases registered at the end of last year, stiri.tvr.ro informs.
The analysis of the Romanian egg market in the current European context indicates that the price increases at the end of 2017 could be explained by some short-term factors, such as the egg production crisis in some EU Member States or the production cycle. However, the magnitude of the prices increases for domestic products cannot be explained: in September the price of eggs in Romania was below the EU average (85.2%), in November it exceeded the EU average (104%).
At the same time, the CC’s analysis showed that there were significant increases in purchase prices by retailers, with prices increasing on average by 57% in November as compared to September 2017. The retail prices increased on average by 49 % in the same interval.
Currently, sales prices for consumer eggs have fallen. According to European Commission data, the egg prices in Romania fell by 21.3% in January 2018 against December 2017.
During the investigation, March 6-22, the Competition Council carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of the involved suppliers and the association of which they belong: Tonelli Holding SRL, Albert Distribution & Logistics SRL, Avicola Lumina SA, Aviputna SRL, Cortina Bioprod SRL, House Ana Tour SRL, Prod-Ovo Grup SA, Avi-Vest SRL and the Romanian Poultry Breeders Union.
The suppliers targeted by the investigation are important suppliers of eggs (producers and/or traders) accounting for approximately 45% of the existing egg production in Romania, being suppliers of the main traders operating at national level, and the association of which they are part is representative for about 90 % of poultry farms and egg producers on the Romanian market.
The documents are in the analysis of the Romanian competition authority, within the specific procedures.
The unannounced inspections are authorized by the Bucharest Court of Appeals and are justified by the need to obtain all the information and documents necessary to clarify the possible anticompetitive practices.