Hershey Canada fined for price-fixing
BY CHARMAINE NORONHA, Associated Press
TORONTO -- Hershey Canada Inc. was fined $3.8 million Friday after pleading guilty to its role in fixing the price of chocolate confectionery products in Canada.
Canada's Competition Bureau said the Mississauga, Ontario-based company admitted in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice that it conspired, agreed or arranged to fix the price of chocolate confectionery products in Canada in 2007.
The Competition Bureau said Hersey also admitted that in 2007 senior employees communicated with employees at Nestl' Canada Inc., Mars Canada Inc. and an independent distributor network to exchange competitively sensitive pricing information about chocolate confectionery products in Canada.
The Competition Bureau earlier this month filed criminal charges against Nestle SA's Canada arm, Mars Inc.'s Canada division and ITWAL Ltd., a network of independent wholesale distributors. Also charged are former Nestle Canada Inc. president Robert Leonidas; Sandra Martinez, former president of confectionery for Nestle Canada; and David Glenn Stevens, president and chief executive of ITWAL.
Nestle, Mars and Itwal Ltd. have said they intend to defend themselves against the charges. A trial date is set for Oct. 3.
If convicted, the defendants could face a fine of up to $9.5 million and a prison term of up to five years.
Hershey Canada received leniency under a Competition Bureau program designed to encourage companies to report wrongdoing.