BONN: A number of Europe's biggest confectionery businesses have been raided by German antitrust watchdogs probing allegations of price fixing.
Nestlé, Kraft Foods and Mars are among the seven chocolate-making firms at the centre of the investigation by the country's Federal Cartel Office.
The companies, together with local firm Ritter Sport, are suspected of collusion in raising the prices of their chocolate bars; although all concerned blame increasing costs of raw materials.
Declares Nestlé spokeswoman Francois Perroud: "There have been worldwide, hefty increases in the price of cocoa. That naturally leads to the adapting of prices."
Adds Kraft spokeswoman Silke Troesch:
"We are cooperating fully with the authorities."
If the companies are found guilty of collusion they face fines of up to 10% of their annual revenues.
Canadian and US antitrust regulators began their own investigations into some of the same manufacturers last year.
Data sourced from multiple sources; additional content by WARC staff