Nestle Fined $26 Million by Germany for Information Exchange

Nestle SA, the world’s largest food company, was fined about 20 million euros ($26 million) by Germany’s Federal Cartel Office for illegal exchange of competitive information.

The amount was reduced because Nestle cooperated, the cartel office said in an e-mailed statement today. The payment is not yet final and the company can appeal, which Frankfurt-based spokesman Hartmut Gahmann said it intends to do.

The competition authority fined Kraft Foods Inc., Unilever and Dr. August Oetker Nahrungsmittel KG about 38 million euros in total for a similar issue in 2011.

“Senior sales representatives at the companies regularly met over several years to discuss the status and the development of talks between their companies and retailers and also partially about planned price increases,” Andreas Mundt, head of the cartel office, said in the statement.