Irish dairy group Glanbia has reached a settlement with the Irish competition authority over allegations concerning the fixing of the retail price of milk.
Glanbia, Ireland's largest milk-processor, and Sligo Dairies were two of five named defendants in High Court proceedings taken by the authority over allegations of price fixing between 1995 and 1998.
In a statement this week the authority said that as a result of the settlement the two companies' dairies 'both gave undertakings in the High Court last Friday - 25 July - that they would comply with the terms of the Competition Act 2002 and not enter into any agreement, or engage in any concerted practice, to fix the retail price of liquid milk'.
The allegations were first made on Irish television, RTE's Prime Time programme, which suggested an illegal cartel in the Irish dairy industry during the 1990s was involved in price-fixing, which cost the consumer tens of millions over the years.
Glanbia denied that it had ever been part of any illegal price-fixing or cartel. It said that the Prime Time allegations were directly related to a competition authority investigation of the milk market in 1998.
Price fixing cartels involve executives from competing companies agreeing not to compete on price but instead to fix prices at a higher level than they would otherwise be.
Glanbia's settlement is similar to that reached between the competition authority and Tesco in December 2002. The Irish authority said last week that it will continue proceedings against Dairygold Dairies Limited and Superquinn.