Several of Norway's top salmon producers have been embroiled in a Canadian civil legal dispute over alleged price fixing, which on October 18 cost them a settlement running into the millions.
The class action lawsuit, which alleged that Norwegian salmon farming giants Cermaq, Grieg Seafood, Lerøy Seafood, Mowi, Nova Sea, SalMar and Sjór had engaged in price-fixing of Atlantic salmon products, originally sought CDN $500 million, according to Norwegian business newspaper Finansavisen.
The case was brought by two Canadian consumers, alleging, according to court documents, that the companies, together with "unnamed co-conspirators", were undertaking illegal practices to fix or control prices from 2013 onwards.
All of the companies involved strenuously deny the allegations.
However, the defendants have jointly agreed to an out-of-court settlement totalling CDN$5.25 million (approx. NOK 42 million).
According to a public notice summarising the outcome of the Canada Federal Court proceedings, "The plaintiffs commenced a proposed class proceeding in the Federal Court alleging that the Cermaq, Grieg, Lerøy, Mowi, Nova Sea, SalMar and defendants and unnamed co-conspirators participated in an unlawful conspiracy to fix, maintain, increase or control the price of farmed Atlantic salmon and products containing or derived from farmed Atlantic salmon from April 10, 2013 onwards contrary to the Competition Act."
"The defendants have denied all liability for this conduct and asserted that their conduct was lawful. The Federal Court has not decided who is right," the notice continues.
"The plaintiffs and defendants have reached a proposed settlement to avoid the uncertainties, risks, and costs of further litigation."
"The representative plaintiffs and Class Counsel believe this settlement is in the best interests of the Settlement Class," the notice states.
The final settlement is subject to approval by the Federal Court, with a hearing scheduled for November 30, 2023 to determine the details.