FOUR cigarette-producing giants could face sanctions for alleged price pacts uncovered by the National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC).
Philip Morris, which manufactures its own-branded cigarettes and also Marlboro, Chesterfield and L&M; Altadis, which makes Fortuna, Ducados and Nobel; JT, behind the brands Winston and Camel, and British American Tobacco, the owners of Lucky Strike and Pall Mall ar accused of 'possible anti-competition practices' including market information-sharing and swapping details of manufacturing, distribution and sales.
The delivery company Logista is also implicated.
Breaking anti-competition legislation – including Article 1 of Law 15/2007 of July 3, covering Protection of Competition, and Article 101 of the European Union's Treaty of Functioning, could mean the companies in question being fined up to 10% of the profits made in the last tax year, says the CNMC, which works to ensure healthy competitive markets in Spain.
Inspections carried out between February 28 and March 2 this year have thrown up what the CNMC's chairman José María Marín Quemada calls 'reasonable indications' of a breach of competition laws.
The CNMC has 18 months to investigate and pass a verdict.