The Danish ornamental horticulture industry last month signalled it is ready to take action against the anti-competitive behaviour of Dutch flower auction FloraHolland.
In a letter to the Dutch competition authoriy NMA, set up to enforce competition and make markets work well for the benefit of consumers, Denmark’s principal trade associations Danish Horticulture and Danish Oranmental expressed their concerns and questions about the ongoing dominant presence of FloraHolland on the European market. There are good reasons to believe that FloraHolland is breaking the European rules of competition.
It is the frustrated chairman of Danish Ornamentals, Jørgen Andersen, who on behalf of the Danish pot plant industry is trying to get through to FloraHolland, the Dutch giant, who continues to play a dominant role on the European flower and plant market.
Since the start of the New Year, the rules for the use of the auction clock by external suppliers have been changed drastically for a number of selected plants. This is not only affecting Denmark but also other countries, such as Germany, Belgium and Kenya.
On top of that, FloraHolland is expecting that the new rules will be implemented following a test period for the most products sold by the clock.
”Among Danish growers we feel that FloraHolland is taking advantage of its strong role on the European market and we find that to be anti-competitive. That is why we have informed the Dutch authorities to point out that we believe FloraHolland is breaking the European rules of competition,” explained Jørgen Andersen. He added, “The main goal of this action is to get into dialogue with FloraHolland. To be honest, we are really annoyed that FloraHolland will not even discuss the matter. And we find the deadlines they are implementing completely out of line,” outlined Jørgen Andersen.
Danish Ornamentals is now in dialogue with growers in Germany, Belgium and Kenya in order to establish joint efforts against the Dutch giant. ”We have to express our beliefs and we have to show our will to take action. On top of everything, FloraHolland has now excluded Danish growers from their trade shows. This means that we have to make our own trade fairs in order to show Danish and hopefully also plants of other nationalities in the future. It is an emergency solution, but when dialogue is out of the question we have to take action ourselves,” underlined Jørgen Andersen.
The Dutch Authorities for Consumers and Markets have invited the Danish growers to a telephone meeting and are now investigating the dispute. The management of FloraHolland, who received a copy of the letter to the authorities, which was written by a leading Danish law firm specialising in trade, has not reacted.