Searches at Belgian retailers in competition inquiry

The Belgian Competition Authority is investigating whether some supermarket chains have violated competition rules. Yesterday, a search and seizure took place at the headquarters of Carrefour and Provera (louis delhaize). For clarity's sake: Ahold Delhaize is not involved in the matter.

 

Purchase alliance?

The Belgian Competition Authority (BMA) confirms that "companies active in the wholesale distribution sector" have been searched, but it does not disclose any names. Carrefour Belgium was the first to confirm its involvement in the investigation and claims to cooperate fully.

 

A second name to surface was Provera Belux, the purchase alliance between Cora, Match and louis delhaize. The latter chain was founded by a brother of the founders of the better-known Delhaize chain, but is a completely different company.

 

The reason for the investigation is purchasing practices that "may restrict competition". Indeed, Carrefour and Provera have announced last year that Carrefour would start to purchase for Provera as well, making it the second largest purchase alliance in Belgium , responsible for some 1400 stores. Belgian business newspaper De Tijd says certain suppliers have filed a complaint because they feel the alliance forces them into giving too many discounts. However, the BMA emphasizes that this is only an investigation. It is therefore not yet clear whether actual violations of the law took place.