Mars has escaped charges of price fixing in Canada after the country's Public Prosecution Service dropped its case, two years after accusing the Snickers maker of conspiring with Nestle and Hershey.
The Competition Bureau of Canada issued a statement on its website advising it had entered a stay of proceedings against Mars and the network of confectionery distributors ITWAL as well as Sandra Martinez, former president of confectionery for Nestle Canada; and David Glenn Stevens, president and CEO of ITWAL. No reason was given for the dropping of the charges.
Prosecution against Nestle Canada and its former president, Robert Leonidas, continues.
An indictment was "preferred" in June 2013 after results from the watchdog's investigation were referred to the PPSC for a decision on whether to prosecute the companies for allegedly fixing the price of chocolate confectionery in Canada.
The charges stemmed from an investigation launched in July 2007, after the bureau was contacted by Cadbury Adams Canada Inc. The Bureau’s investigation allegedly uncovered evidence that Nestlé Canada Inc., ITWAL Ltd., Mars Canada Inc., Robert Leonidas, Sandra Martinez and David Glenn Stevens were allegedly involved in an agreement to fix the prices of chocolate confectionery products in Canada.
A spokesperson for Nestle said it would "continue to vigorously defend against the charges".
"At Nestlé Canada, we pride ourselves on operating with the highest ethical business standards," the company added.
A spokesperson for Canada's Competition Authority said they could not discuss the matter further as it remained in court.