JULIAN SMITHAAP

Coles forced to pay suppliers $12 million

SUPERMARKET giant Coles has been ordered to refund about 200 of its small suppliers more than $12 million after a series of court cases by regulators.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission last year took the retailer to court over its dealings with farmers and grocery suppliers.

In December, the Federal Court returned a declaration Coles had engaged in "unconscionable conduct", and ordered the company to establish a redress process.

Former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett, who led the process, released his report on Tuesday, ordering the $12 million be repaid to suppliers and those 200 smaller tier three suppliers be able too leave current contracts without penalty.

The final decision follows the court's $10 million penalty Coles had to pay, with Mr Kennett also recommending a further $324,000 be paid to suppliers listed in court documents.

Coles has already acted on some of Mr Kennett's binding and non-binding recommendations.


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