The European Commission has made lightning swoops on six EU plastic film producing companies, in a search for evidence of possible price-fixing in the supply of wrappings for food and drink and for agricultural products among other products.

The Commission confirmed on Friday that surprise raids were carried out by officials from the Commission’s competition directorate general and national governments on 22 August, in Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden and the UK.

Brussels officials said the raids did not prejudge the outcome and said the investigation could be lengthy, especially if provisional evidence of anti-competitive behaviour were found, when they could last a year or more.

By Alan Osborn, correspondent