It remains unclear whether the OFT is also questioning other dairies and major retailers. A spokeswoman refused to reveal the identity of any other companies involved.
She said: “We have reasonable grounds to suspect a breach of the Competition Act by agreements between a number of parties. But it cannot be assumed this will lead to an infringement decision. This is part of an ongoing investigation into various retail price initiatives during 2000-2003.”
Dairy Crest and Wiseman revealed they were under investigation in their interims, published this week. Dairy Crest’s pre-tax profit slumped by nearly a half to £17m on sales of £642m. Wiseman’s dropped 22% to £12m on a turnover of £281m. They blamed the falls on high oil prices and renegotiation of milk contracts with the multiples.