Decision expected on milk profiteering

THE COMPETITION regulator is expected to announce today in parliament whether the milk industry is operating a cartel.
The Committee for the Protection of Competition (CPC) met yesterday morning to discuss the conclusions of their investigation into the possible existence of a milk cartel operating between 2005 and 2007. Later in the day, the board held a meeting at the Commerce Ministry on the same issue, chaired by Minister Antonis Paschalides.
No statements were made after either meeting though CPC chairman Costakis Christoforou is expected to speak on the matter in parliament today in the House Commerce Committee.
Christoforou was recently quoted by Stockwatch saying about the report: “We will say things as they are. In essence, with our decision we will turn the market upside down.”
Press reports have quoted ministry officials saying that some in the milk industry were abusing their dominant position in the market.
Earlier this month, Consumers Association head Petros Markou told the Cyprus Mail that they were “sure there is profiteering throughout the chain, from producers to pasteurisers and retailers”.
Government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou yesterday referred to steps taken by the government to tackle unfair competition, first by strengthening staff at the CPC, but also their request to Brussels to put temporary price caps (plafond) on the three basic items, milk, bread and water.
He noted that the CPC has a primary role to play in the functioning of the economy, adding it “has the full political support of the government and the president”.
Stefanou acknowledged that plafonds alone would not be the answer to all the market’s problems, but “we can at least send a clear message to those profiteering and protect the consumer”, he said.