Tetra Pak’s rival reacts to tight Tine ties

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The chief executive of Elopak said on Monday that he was “negatively surprised” by news that his company’s arch rival, Tetra Pak, is under investigation for allegedly bribing a top purchasing executive at Norwegian dairy conglomerate Tine. “We’ll have to see what comes out of this,” Niels Petter Wright of Elopak told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN).

In a lengthy article in its Saturday edition headlined “Carton comrades,” DN reported in detail how a top seller at packaging firm Tetra Pak had treated the veteran Tine executive in charge of purchasing to travel, meals, drinks, spa visits and gifts over a four-year period. DN, which had gained access to expense receipts filed with Tetra Pak, described how Tetra Pak had paid for 145 restaurant meals, 246 rounds of drinks, sightseeing, entry fees and other expenses for the Tine executive and, at times, other Tine employees.

Wright told DN he’s now keen to learn whether investigators at Norway’s white collar crime unit Økokrim will determine that Tetra Pak has received improper and unwarranted competitive advantages from all the wining and dining. “We believe they’ll be examining whether there’s any consequences of possible corruption here.

Both the Tine executive, who recently retired, and the Tetra Pak seller, who was relieved of his Tine duties pending results of the investigation, have denied doing anything improper. A Tetra Pak official also told DN that after the company’s own review, “we are certain that good business reasons justified the traveling.”

Asked whether Elopak treats its customers in a comparable manner, Wright said “no,” adding that such contact “would be in violation of our guidelines under our ‘Code of Conduct and Anti-Corruption’ policy.” Asked whether it was common in the packaging industry to treat to so many dinners, drinks, travel and other expenses, Wright said that what DN reported in its article was “very far from what we practice and have rules for regarding normal business operations and customer care.”

newsinenglish.no staff