The Swedish Competition Authority, Konkurrensverket, has carried out inspections at a number of Arla Foods premises.

The authority carried out dawn raids at the company's office in Stockholm, at its head office in Denmark and at its supermarket chain Coop Sweden on Tuesday (28 April).

Arla is suspected of signing an unlawful suppliers agreement with Coop Sweden that was in "disagreement" with the law, Konkurrensverket said.

A spokesperson for Arla told just-food: "Obviously we cannot comment on the allegations as we are currently cooperating with the authorities to find out if it is true or not. However, we have very strict rules about this internally in our own company and obviously also abide by the laws of, in this particular case, Sweden, so we would be very surprised if they find that something illegal has happened.

"Of course now, if they find that there is a reason to look into it, we are going to fully cooperate and help them with any information that they need and hopefully we can have it clarified as soon as possible."

Last week the dairy giant insisted it remained open to industry consolidation in Germany and Poland - but said it would not join forces with German dairy Viöl.

Arla, which has also said it would cut 250 jobs to reduce costs, said it remains committed to its plans to expand in northern Europe.