Italian Antitrust Bureau Fines Pasta Cos. $15.9M

By Liz McKenzie (February 26, 2009, 12:00 AM EST) -- Italy's competition regulator has fined Italian pasta companies — including the makers of the brands Barilla, Buitoni and De Cecco — €12.5 million ($15.92 million) for allegedly participating in a cartel that conspired to illegally inflate prices for semolina dry pasta.

Twenty-six individual companies and the Industrial Union of Italian Pasta Makers were fined on Thursday for allegedly driving up the sale price of pasta more than 51 percent from May 2006 to May 2008.

"The agreements have in fact affected the entire market for the production of pasta and have had obvious effects on the market in terms of average...

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