France fines FedEx, DHL and others a total of $740 million for colluding on prices

PARIS – France’s competition regulator has fined 20 package delivery companies, including the French operations of FedEx and DHL, a total of 672 million euros ($740 million) for colluding on price increases over a period of six years.

The competition authority’s ruling Tuesday outlined secret meetings from 2004-2010, and said the price rises implemented were especially damaging to small businesses that use package delivery services.

In one case, companies agreed to a standard system to pass on higher diesel costs to customers, the authority said. And in another, it said some companies had been planning an annual 5 per cent increase, but after secret meetings with representatives from other delivery companies, decided to raise them 7 per cent instead.

Regulators discovered the activity thanks to a special program of clemency for whistleblowers.

FedEx Express said in a statement that the company “is currently analyzing the decision” and may consider appealing it. It noted that the case concerns activities by another company Tatex, which FedEx acquired in 2012.

Deutsche Post-DHL spokesman Daniel McGrath confirmed that the company has received the regulator’s decision, but would not comment further. “We are reviewing it in more detail,” he said.