Israel: The Competition Authority raids the offices of Strauss and Shufersal, senior officials investigated

Strauss and Shufersal reported to the stock exchange that representatives of the Competition Authority conducted a search and collected materials from the offices, as well as senior officials. Shufersal: “The search is on suspicion of a restrictive arrangement, the CEO is being investigated.” Senior Strauss and Shufersal officials are scheduled to attend a discussion tomorrow at the Economics Committee on the cost of living. A committee source told Ynet:

Strauss informed the stock exchange that this morning (Tuesday), representatives of the Competition Authority conducted a search and collection of materials at the company’s offices, on suspicion of violating the Economic Competition Law, and also investigated employees at the company, including senior executives.

Shufersal then announced to the stock exchange: “This morning, investigators from the Competition Authority conducted a search of the company’s offices and took documents and computer equipment, and that the company’s CEO Itzik Aberkhan was questioned at the Competition Authority’s offices. The search warrant issued to the company stated that the search was on suspicion of a restrictive arrangement. As of the date of the report, the company has no additional information about the nature of the investigation and its circumstances. “Trading in the two companies’ shares was halted and resumed with declines of 2% -1.5%.

The Competition Authority said it has opened an investigation and is investigating a suspicion of breach of competition law by a number of suppliers and networks following recent incidents. “Since the investigation is in its infancy no further details can be given at this stage,” they said.

“Suspicious of price coordination”
Senior Strauss and Shufersal officials are scheduled to attend a discussion tomorrow at the Economics Committee on the cost of living. A source in the committee told Ynet: “We suspect an alleged semi-cartel of coordinating the prices of the chains. Because of their media interviews according to which prices must be raised. The retail chains are very stressed from the discussion tomorrow.”

Earlier today, the chairman of the Finance Committee, MK Alex Kushnir (Yisrael Beiteinu) opened the committee’s discussion with an unusual appeal to importers and retail chains: I hope and expect that you will not take advantage of this period to raise prices, and at least maintain the current price level, and maybe when you buy new inventories, you will turn to lower prices. ”

Kushnir’s request comes against the backdrop of repeated statements from the owners of the retail chains and some of the importers about an expected and “inevitable” price increase, they claim.

The owner of the Victory Eyal Ravid chain claimed in a Facebook post that “we are on the verge of a wave of price increases.” The reasons he provided were the increase in the price of sea freight and fuel, the expected tax on disposable dishes and the tax on sugary drinks. “We will fight suppliers and deepen parallel imports,” he wrote, warning the public of price increases planned by consumer product suppliers. Shufersal CEO Itzik Aberhahn told Mammon that he did not receive requests for price increases, but he will still receive them.

Also in June this year, the Competition Authority opened an investigation into whether the statements of various suppliers about price increases constitute a violation of the Competition Law. The Authority requested data, documents and information from companies that have recently stated that they will raise prices or that they intend to raise prices. Certain transfers of information between competitors, even if made publicly, may be in violation of competition law.

Strauss stated in reports in the first quarter of this year that it would examine price increases in its products, in view of rising raw material prices and rising sea transportation prices. Strauss then said that the company would do everything in its power to prevent price increases. Because it is considering raising prices, Osem, the third largest food company in Israel, hinted at the time that the company “refrains” from raising prices.

Shufersal responded: “The company is acting in accordance with the law and will cooperate fully with the law enforcement authorities.”

The Strauss Group stated: “Strauss adheres to the provisions of the competition laws, and will cooperate with the Competition Authority as required.”


By Editor

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