Portuguese competition authority Autoridade da Concorrência (AdC) has fined six food retail chains a total of €304m for price fixing.
The six retailers are Modelo Continente, Pingo Doce, Auchan, Intermarché, Lidl and Cooplecnorte (E.Leclerc).
Suppliers Sociedade Central de Cervejas (SCC) and Primeddrinks have also been fined for the illegal practice.
Modelo Continente, which is owned by Sonae, was fined €122m and Jeronimo Martins-run Pingo Doce €91m.
Auchan and Intermarche were fined €22m and €19m, respectively.
According to the regulator, the illegal practises of increasing prices took place between 2008 and 2017 and affected various drinks including beers and waters.
Additionally, they also fixed prices on wine and hard liquor from Primedrinks’ portfolio between 2007 and 2017.
AdC in a statement said: “Through a common supplier, companies ensured the alignment of sales prices to the public, thus restricting price competition between supermarkets and depriving consumers from the benefits of price differentiation.
“The sanctioned practice, referred to in competition terminology, as “hub-and-spoke”, is considered very serious and harmful to consumers since it deprives them of choice at the best price.
“These are the first decisions in Portugal for a “hub-and-spoke” practice and sanction groups which represent the most important part of the large retail distribution market, thus affecting the majority of the Portuguese population.”