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Turkey closes Ferrero hazelnut monopoly investigation

Hazelnut producers put hazelnuts to dry on the ground after being washed at a nut orchard in Akyazı, Sakarya province, on October 5, 2021. - Turkey is by far the world’s top hazelnut producer and exporter, accounting for nearly 70 percent of the world’s production and 82 percent of exports, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. It is followed by Italy with nearly 20 percent in production and 15 percent in exports. The world-famous Nutella spread is made by Italy’s Ferrero confectionary, Turkey’s top hazelnut purchaser. The global giant’s other sweets include Ferrero Rocher candies and Kinder chocolate eggs. (Photo by Ozan KOSE / AFP)

Turkey is ending an investigation into Italian company Ferrero over accusations that it was monopolizing the country’s hazelnut market, Agence France-Presse reported, citing a statement from the Turkish Competition Authority.

Ferrero, world-famous for its Nutella spread and Ferrero Rocher, was accused by Turkish farmers of paying meagre sums for their hazelnuts and then selling its products at significantly higher prices.

“The investigation into [Ferrero’s Turkish subsidiary] has been concluded with commitments that have resolved the competition problems that were raised,” the competition authority said.

In a statement to AFP on Friday, Ferrero said it “welcomes the closure of the investigation and confirms its commitment to operate in Turkey by buying in-shell hazelnuts not below the intervention reference price.”

Following complaints from farmers that Ferrero was abusing its dominant position, the Turkish Competition Authority opened an investigation into the Italian giant in 2022.

The authority said it wanted to determine if the group and its subsidiaries had “violated the law on the protection of competition … in the hazelnut market at all levels, from production to purchasing, shelling and export.”

Ferrero in 2022 employed more than 1,000 people in Turkey, the world’s largest hazelnut producer, where the company has been sourcing hazelnuts for more than three decades.

In 2023 Turkey exported more than 280,000 tons of hazelnuts, worth $1.86 billion, according to a trade association.

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