Industry Canada

Industry Canada

August 30, 2005 15:59 ET

Industry Canada: Competition Bureau Investigation Leads to Over $1.6 Million in Fines for International Nucleotide Producers Conspiracy

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Aug. 30, 2005) - The Competition Bureau announced today that the Federal Court of Canada imposed fines totalling $1.675 million for a conspiracy to fix prices of nucleotides in Canada. Nucleotides are used as flavour enhancers in soups, sauces, spices and other foods.

Ajinomoto Co. Inc. pleaded guilty for participating in this conspiracy and was fined $1.5 million. CJ Corp. also pleaded guilty and was fined $175,000 for its participation.

"These international price fixing cartels prey on Canadian businesses and consumers by manipulating prices and competition in our marketplace," said Denyse MacKenzie, Deputy Commissioner of Competition. "The Competition Bureau will continue its aggressive prosecution of illegal cartel schemes."

The conspiracy began as early as July 1992 and continued until August 1996. During this period, representatives of Ajinomoto of Japan and CJ Corp. of Korea communicated with other producers and agreed on prices for the sale of nucleotides, including into Canada.

Ajinomoto and CJ Corp. both pleaded guilty to violating section 45 of the Competition Act. Under this section, it is a criminal offence to agree with competitors to fix prices or share markets. The maximum fine is $10 million.

The Competition Bureau is an independent law enforcement agency that promotes and maintains fair competition so that all Canadians can benefit from competitive prices, product choice and quality service. It oversees the application of the Competition Act, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, the Textile Labelling Act and the Precious Metals Marking Act.

Contact Information

  • Competition Bureau
    Maureen McGrath
    Communications Advisor
    (819) 953-8982 or (613) 296-2187 (cell)
    or
    Competition Bureau
    Information Centre
    (819) 997-4282 or 1 (800) 348-5358