Napier Brown, UK sugar distributor, is planning to take its dispute with British Sugar to the European Complaint Authorities.
This follows the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) decision not to open an investigation into the company’s complaint against British Sugar regarding unfair competition, after it had not passed the CMA’s prioritisation procedure.
This decision has been welcomed by British Sugar, which said: “British Sugar is pleased that the CMA has elected not to pursue Napier Brown’s complaint, in line with the previous conclusion of the Office of Trading (OFT).”
However Napier Brown, owned by The Real Good Food Company, maintains that its case is strong and has been informed that there is nothing to prevent the CMA from opening an investigation in the future.
The company said it has an “outstanding offer to take the complaint back to the European Competition Authorities in Brussels and intends to open discussions with them shortly.”
It suspects that a reduction in sugar prices may have influenced the CMA’s decision that there is ‘sufficient competition’ in the market.
A statement from Napier Brown said: “That may be so at present, when supply of sugar within the EU is plentiful, but the group remains concerned that when stocks tighten, which the group believes they inevitably will, competition will prove less than sufficient.
“At least the decision gives the business some clarity. Contingency plans for such an outcome were already in place and as such this decision does not affect current trading.”