Reports say Israel antitrust authorities raided offices of major coffee chain Café Café early this week as part of an investigation into allegations of price-fixing.
Reports say Café Café’s head Ronen Nimni and two others are the focus of the Antitrust Authority’s probe, which included seizure of computers in the raid.
Also investigated are Roladin and Café Greg’s Yair Malka, two other major coffee chains.
Reports printed stories regarding price-fixing last month in an expose that claimed the firms colluded to fix prices; following the report, Israel’s competition head David Gilo vowed to investigate the matter.
Café chains now account for 30% of all cafés in Israel and 70% of sales.
According to Czamanski Ben Shahar and Co., a Haifa-based economic consulting firm, the largest chains are Aroma Israel (123 branches), Café Café (120) and Café Greg, with 88 branches.
Other important players are Roladin (44 branches), Café Joe (38) and Aroma Tel Aviv, with 25 branches.
According to reports from the sraeli daily newspaper Haaretz, personal ties among executives are extensive, and nearly all the chains are part of this informal network.
They maintain “business friendships” that include meetings, discussions of business matters and planning business steps. In some cases they even help competitors receive better terms from suppliers.
Source: Competition Policy International