Dairies accused of fixing prices to small shops

Six Scottish dairies illegally fixed prices for sales to customers such as schools and small shops over several years, the Office of Fair Trading has alleged.

The OFT claims the dairies Ballantyne, Grahams, Quothquan, Renfrew, Scottish Milk Dairies and Wiseman, had shared price information and co-ordinated a series of price increases and colluded over arrangements not to compete for each others' customers.

The alleged collusion is said to have taken place between 2000 and 2003.

The OFT first began investigating the case more than five years ago and said yesterday that no assumption should be made at this stage that there has been an infringement of competition law.

The OFT will not be in a position to decide if the law has been breached until it has received and reviewed the parties' responses to the statement of objections and any comments from interested third parties.