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China to Release Milk-Powder Probe Results Soon, Xinhua Says

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July 31 (Bloomberg) -- China completed an anti-monopoly probe into several milk powder companies and will release the results soon, the official Xinhua News Agency reported, citing the National Development and Reform Commission.

The baby formula companies being investigated had set a minimum price on milk powder, which led to high prices, the state-run news agency said on its microblog today, citing Xu Kunlin, head of the NDRC’s pricing supervision department.

Milk powder companies Danone to Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. were part of five named on July 2 by the NDRC, China’s top economic planning agency, for possibly violating anti-monopoly laws and setting prices too high. The agency said in a People’s Daily report that it had evidence to show their pricing increased about 30 percent since 2008, the same year milk powder contaminated with melamine killed six infants.

Other producers named included Nestle SA’s Wyeth brand, Abbott Laboratories, Dutch producer Royal FrieslandCampina NV, and local firm Biostime International Holdings Ltd., the People’s Daily reported. Within days, Danone and Nestle SA reduced some prices by as much as 20 percent. Mead Johnson, the country’s largest infant formula seller, announced its own cuts July 10.

Nestle, Danone, Mead Johnson, Abbott Laboratories, Royal FrieslandCampina and Biostime International had said earlier this month they were working with the government on the matter.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Liza Lin in Shanghai at llin15@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Wong at swong139@bloomberg.net

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