Singapore competition watchdog offered another six weeks to 13 chicken suppliers to defend themselves following price fixing allegations.
In March last year, the 13 distributors, which supply more than 90 percent of fresh chicken products here, were accused of engaging in anti-competitive agreements to coordinate price increases. They also agreed not to compete for one another's customers in the market for the supply of fresh chicken products in Singapore.
The Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) said that by doing this, the parties restricted the choices available to customers. The coordinated price increases also reduced customer choice as it provided few options for customers to switch distributors. The non-aggression pact and price increases also created a less competitive landscape.
On Thursday, the CCS said "new evidence involving allegations of fact and admissions" have been brought to their attention.
It has decided to give six more weeks to the suppliers to address the new evidence.
"CCS will then make its final decision, after careful consideration of the representations, as well as all available information and evidence," the governing body said in a statement.
The distributors could face fines if found to have infringed anti-competition rules.
The parties have six weeks to make their representations to the CCS, after which it will make its final decision, said the commission.
The 13 suppliers are: Gold Chic Poultry Supply, Hua Kun Food Industry, Hock Chuan Heng Farm and its sole-proprietor, Hy-fresh Industries (S), Kee Song Food Corporation (formerly Kee Song Brothers Poultry Industries), Lee Say Poultry Industrial and its sole-proprietor, Lee Say Group, Hup Heng Poultry Industries, KSB Distribution, Prestige Fortune (S), Ng Ai Muslim Poultry Industries, Sinmah Poultry Processing (S), Toh Thye San Farm, Tong Huat Poultry Processing Factory and Ban Hong Poultry.