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Spanish regulator fines tobacco companies for anti-competition

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MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s anti-trust watchdog fined tobacco companies a combined total of almost 58 million euros (£50 million) for non-competitive practices, the regulator said on Friday.

Distributor Compania de Distribucion Integral Logista provided sales information for rivals to tobacco companies Philip Morris Spain, Altadis and JT International Iberia, regulator CNMV said in a statement. “The effect of these practices has been to eliminate competition,” the CNMV said.

Logista was fined almost 21 million euros, Philip Morris Spain more than 15 million euros and Altadis more than 11 million euros, while JT International Iberia was fined 10 million euros.

The CNMV began the investigation almost two years earlier after carrying out surprise inspections of the companies’ offices.

Logista, an affiliate of Imperial Brands, provided sales information in good faith and free of charge, and disputes that this negatively affected competition, the company said in a statement on Friday, adding that it plans to appeal the ruling.

CNMV rulings can be appealed in Spain’s High Court.

Philip Morris, JT International Iberia and Altadis were not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Sam Edwards; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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