Tobacco 'price fixers' hit with £225m fine

BRITAIN'S largest two tobacco manufacturers and ten retail groups have been fined a total of £225m by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

Imperial Tobacco and Gallaher as well as the stores - including Asda and the Co-op – were hit with fines after a seven-year investigation into price fixing.

The tobacco companies agreed to "fix" the price for some retailers, the probe found.

Asda, One Stop Stores and Somerfield saw their penalties reduced because they co-operated with the investigation.

Simon Williams, the OFT's Senior Director of Goods, said: "Practices such as these, which restrict the ability of retailers to set their resale prices for competing brands independently, are unlawful.
They can lead to reduced competition and ultimately disadvantage consumers.

“This enforcement action will send out a strong message that such practices, which could in principle be applied to the sale of many different products, can result in substantial penalties for those who engage in them.”