The full Federal Court has dismissed the ACCC’s appeal in the matter involving Australian Egg Corporation Ltd (AECL), Farm Pride Foods Ltd (Farm Pride) and Ironside Management Services Pty Ltd (trading as Twelve Oaks Poultry).
According to an ACCC statement, the consumer watchdog had alleged that at an “egg-oversupply crisis meeting” held by AECL and attended by egg producers, the AECL and the other respondents had attempted to induce producers to enter into a cartel arrangement to reduce the supply of eggs, in response to a perceived oversupply of eggs.
The ACCC’s case was originally dismissed by the Federal Court in February 2016, with its appeal to the full Federal Court this week also being dismissed.
“Australians spend over half a billion dollars a year on eggs,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said. “The ACCC commenced these proceedings because we were concerned that if the alleged attempted cartel arrangement had been successful, and implemented to reduce the supply of eggs, it could have increased the price of eggs.
“The ACCC appealed to the full court to seek clarity about what conduct is sufficient to constitute an attempt to induce cartel conduct, particularly in the context of conduct by a trade association interacting with its members.”
“This case highlights the importance of the federal government’s Competition Policy Reform Bill, which introduces a concerted practices prohibition into Australian competition law.
“The ACCC will carefully consider the judgment of the full court.”