KUALA LUMPUR: A suspected chicken cartel, said to involve five companies which conspired to fix prices, has been exposed by the Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC).

The companies are Dindings Poultry Development Centre Sdn Bhd, FFM Berhad, Gold Coin Feedmills (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, Leong Hup Feedmill Malaysia Sdn Bhd, and PK Agro-Industrial Products (M) Sdn Bhd.

The five are accused of having agreed among themselves to increase the price quantum of poultry feed, consisting of soybean meal and maize, which also led to the increase in poultry prices.

Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC) chief executive officer Iskandar Ismail said the five enterprises have been given 30 days to explain their suspected involvement in the cartel.

“It must, however, be highlighted that our findings are provisional with the enterprises yet to be found guilty of breaking the law, at this stage,” he told a press conference at the MyCC premise here yesterday.

He stated that they could make their oral submissions on a date to be determined after their written submissions were received, and that it was still business as usual for the companies.

A proposed decision was delivered by MyCC yesterday, with a copy also sent to the five companies. A final decision is expected somewhere in October.

Iskandar said MyCC had provisionally found the companies to have infringed Section 4 of the Competition Act 2010.

“The infringements were committed between early 2020 and mid 2022, when they entered into an anti-competitive agreement and/or concerted practices.

“This was done through increasing the price quantum of poultry feed. Investigations also revealed that the sensitive commercial information shared between them could potentially distort competition in the market,” he said.

He said this agreement had restricted consumers from choosing the poultry feed supplier that offered the best value.

MyCC began investigations early this year following complaints from industry players over the increasing price of chicken feed.

“This saw us conducting raids, seizing documents and also taking statements from relevant individuals,” he said.

“If found guilty, MyCC will impose a financial penalty of up to 10% of the involved parties’ worldwide turnover rate (during the period of infringement).

“MyCC also has the discretion to impose other appropriate directives,” he said.

On Feb 1, MyCC announced it had set up a special task force to investigate the allegations of anti-competitive conduct.

This came following a directive from the National Action Council on the Cost of Living meeting chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.