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Riyadh court upholds $8m fine on soft drink firms

Riyadh court upholds $8m fine on soft drink firms

The six were accused of collectively agreeing to increase prices to boost profitability

Riyadh’s Appeals Court has reportedly upheld a sentence fining six soft drink firms for their joint decision to increase prices of their products by 50 per cent in 2009.

Arab News reports that the court upheld a fine of SAR5m ($1.3m) for each company, with the total fine for the six reaching SAR30m ($7.99m).

The court said the six violated Article 4/1 of the kingdom’s competition rules prohibiting price fixing via agreements, contracts and practices either written or verbally.

Local reports said the six agreed to increase the price of their products from SAR1 to SAR1.5 at the end of 2009 with no justifiable reason.

Following a six-year probe, the court concluded that the companies reached the deal solely to boost their profitability.

Arab News cited Competitiveness Council secretary Ibrahim Al-Salim as saying the body had asked the companies to reverse their decision to avoid the fine.

However, he denied there was any request from the companies to go back to the old prices.

A lawyer representing the six companies said they would challenge the order next week in the Supreme Administrative Court.

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