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La Cofece rules out monopolistic practices in the sugar market

Mexico‘s Federal Economic Competition Commission (Cofece) ruled out monopolistic practices in the sugar market.

Among the economic interest groups investigated were: Grupo Sáenz, Beta San Miguel, Organización Cultiba, Promotora Industrial Josela, Central Motzorongo, Piasa, Grupo Azucarero San Pedro, Ingenios Santos and Zucarmex.

At the beginning, on November 30, 2017, the Cofece investigating authority issued an initiation agreement for the possible conduct of absolute monopolistic practices provided for in the Federal Law on Economic Competition (LFCE).

Thus, the investigation period ran from November 30, 2017 to November 12, 2020.

In order to obtain the means of conviction that would allow it to determine whether there is anti-competitive behavior, Cofece requested information from clients who participate in the chocolate, candy and carbonated beverage manufacturing industries and who use sugar as their main input.

According to the information obtained, it was found that several clients of the main sugar groups, as well as companies that acquire sugar through marketers and distributors, stated that they had not suffered a restriction in the volume of sugar they purchase.

Cofece

In sum, the Investigating Authority did not find evidence of the existence of an absolute monopolistic practice among the economic agents of whom information was available and who participate in the investigated market, because none of the evidence obtained supported, not even in a way circumstantial, to the existence of an agreement between competitors.

Neither did Cofece find elements of conviction that can be inferred from the existence of an agreement between competitors with the purpose of setting, raising, arranging or manipulating the sale price of sugar and/or establishing the obligation not to produce, process, distribute and/or market but only a restricted and/or limited amount of sugar in said market, as well as the existence of communication channels in the referred market.

By virtue of the foregoing, Cofece considers that there are no elements in the file to impute responsibility to any economic agent. The foregoing without prejudice to the powers that other entities or governmental bodies may have regarding the facts that were investigated.

In 2016, Cofece fined the National Chamber of Sugar and Alcohol Industries (CNIAA), seven companies and 10 individuals for colluding in 2013 to avoid a drop in product prices.

 

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