Tnuva milk bags 298.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Antitrust Authority is expanding its investigation into Tnuva Food
Industries Ltd., people familiar with the matter told Globes Tuesday. More than
20 persons have been questioned or provided evidence since the investigation
began, they said.
The investigation was opened before the start of the
cottage-cheese boycott last summer, when Tnuva asked the Antitrust Authority to
review its monopoly status, claiming that it no longer dominated the dairy
market, the sources said.
Tnuva is classified as a monopoly in the dairy
industry because it controls 56 percent to 57% of the market.
It said it
no longer dominated the yogurt market, where Strauss Group Ltd. had the biggest
share as the franchisee of Danone. Tnuva also said Strauss dominated the
As part of the investigation, the Antitrust Authority
asked all dairies for data after Globes revealed that a report by McKinsey &
Company for Tnuva had advised that it could raise prices for products without
harming demand. In addition, after Tnuva was acquired by Apax Partners, Tnuva
executives were told to present a “100-day plan” to create value.
plan was nicknamed “quick wins.”
Last September, the Antitrust Authority
opened an investigation into Tnuva on suspicion of concealing information. It
questioned former Apax Israel CEO and Tnuva chairwoman Zehavit Cohen under
caution. After the investigation was opened, Tnuva handed the McKinsey report to
the Antitrust Authority.
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The Antitrust Authority may investigate changes
in prices between government- controlled yellow cheeses and unsupervised
cheeses. A Globes investigation found that the price of government-controlled
Emek yellow cheese was unchanged between 2008 and last summer (a price that
should reflect the cost of raw materials), while prices rose 11.5% for Emek
cheese, 15% for white cheeses and 11% for cottage cheese.
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