Fonterra fined for price-fixing

China moves on New Zealand dairy exporter and five other companies after investigation.

China has fined dairy supplier Fonterra Co-operative Group (FSF) and five other baby formula companies for price-fixing.

The news follows a contaminated milk crisis in China, where Fonterra said three batches of whey product - which is used to make infant formula and sports drinks - had been found to contain a potentially deadly bacteria.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, the group said it has been co-operating with the China National Development and Reform Commission's review of consumer dairy product pricing practices.

Fonterra has been fined around $NZ900,000 ($789,841), while other firms fined include Mead Johnson and Abbott from the US, Dumex, a subsidiary of France's Danone, Friesland of the Netherlands and China's Biostime.

Fonterra, one of New Zealand's biggest dairy exporters, says it will give its staff extra training and review distributor contracts for clarity on pricing policies.

The NDRC, China's top economic planner, launched the investigation into high prices it said resulted from a monopoly-like situation, mostly targeting overseas firms. Several of them announced price cuts last month.

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