The Korea Herald


SPC Group's W64.7b antitrust fines cancelled

By Hwang Joo-young

Published : Feb. 1, 2024 - 18:23

    • Link copied

SPC Group's headquarters in Seocho-gu, southern Seoul (Newsis) SPC Group's headquarters in Seocho-gu, southern Seoul (Newsis)

South Korean food and bakery giant SPC Group has been spared from a fine of 64.7 billion won ($48.6 million) as Seoul’s high court ruled in favor of the company in its lawsuit filed against the nation’s antitrust watchdog.

In 2020, the Korea Fair Trade Commission imposed fines, together with a corrective order, alleging that SPC affiliates, including Paris Croissant, SPL, BR Korea, and Shany, unfairly supported SPC Samlip, the group’s only listed firm, to raise its stock price in an apparent move to help the group’s ownership succession scheme.

Back in 2011, SPC Samlip purchased Shany’s sales division, while Paris Croissant and Shany acquired shares of Mildawon, a flour manufacturing affiliate, in 2012.

The FTC claimed that SPC Samlip made “excessive and unfair” profits through a series of internal transactions, which affected its stock price positively and raised the profits for the owner family.

But the Seoul High Court on Wednesday denied most of the allegations, ordering the FTC to cancel the fines.

The court admitted that there was an unfair element to the internal purchases, but it said the financial benefits for SPC Samlip were not considered “sizeable.” The FTC’s administrative order was retained due to the same logic.

But the court denied the alleged ties between the transactions and the group’s succession scheme, citing the fact that Chairman Hur Young-in’s two sons have acquired no additional stakes in SPC Samlip over the past 15 years.

SPC welcomed the ruling, saying, “We are relieved that most of the allegations have been solved. We plan to come up with our response after thoroughly reviewing the ruling.”