Sandwich makers La Toque Angevine and Daunat have been fined by France’s competition authority for their role in a price-fixing cartel stretching back to 2010.

A third company, Roland Monterrat, based in Feillens, eastern France, has escaped punishment after admitting its part in the scheme.

The Autorité de la Concurrence said the companies colluded to share details on volumes and customers and to fix prices on private-label sandwiches manufactured for supermarkets from September 2010 to September 2016 having formed a “non-aggression pact” to avoid a price war between them.

La Toque Angevine (LTA), which is owned by French poultry group LDC and is located in Segré-en-Anjou Bleu, in the Maine-et-Loire department of western France, has been fined EUR15.5m (US$18.2m). 

Daunat, which is part of Norac Foods and is based in Brittany, has been punished to the tune of EUR9m. 

The competition body said Roland Monterrat, part of the Panzani Group, was essentially the whistleblower in the case and was therefore exempted from a penalty under a "leniency procedure". 

Meanwhile, LTA and Daunat requested leniency for their part and were awarded a reduction in the fines of 35% and 30%, respectively.

"LTA and Daunat have also decided, after having been the subject of inspection and seizure operations carried out on their premises by the Authority's investigative services, to request the benefit of the clemency," Autorité de la Concurrence said in a statement.

It continued: "By dividing up markets and agreeing on prices, the three main manufacturers of private-label industrial sandwiches, which represent nearly 90% of the market or almost all sales of private-label sandwiches, have hindered free play. They were thus able to raise their prices without fear of a response from their competitors." 

just-food has contacted all three companies for respective comments.