Korea’s antitrust watchdog has decided to impose a fine of 64.7 billion won ($54.1 million) on food giant SPC for violation of antitrust laws, officials said on July 29.
The Fair Trade Commission is also set to report Chairman Hur Young-in, former group CEO Cho Sang-ho and former Paris Croissant CEO Hwang Jae-bok to prosecutors.
“The investigation found that the chief was involved in supporting Samlip in diverse ways on the group level,” an FTC official said.
Samlip is the only listed company in the group, with Chairman Hur’s two sons holding shares. Vice President Huh Jin-soo holds an 11.9 percent stake and former Vice President Huh Hee-soo had 11.7 percent as of 2018.
Authorities said SPC affiliates had paid a “passage tax” to Samlip from 2013 to 2018. During the period, baking affiliates such as Paris Croissant, SPL and BR Korea paid Samlip in the process of purchasing raw materials from eight other units, although Samlip had no role.
“In the process, a total of 41.4 billion won was provided to Samlip in profits. Also, a significant portion of the raw materials market, such as flour and liquid eggs, was blocked from a chance at business, resulting in infringement of the competition for small and medium-sized enterprises,” an official said.
The FTC views that the group sought to facilitate family inheritance of control of the group by unfairly supporting Samlip.
In response, SPC said, “Samlip is a company that the owner family holds a small stake in and cannot be a means of succession. Also, the head has never been involved in any decision-making.”
By Shin Ji-hye (email@example.com)