Margaux Fodéré // Photo credits: Frederic Scheiber / Hans Lucas / Hans Lucas via AFP 06:21, September 26, 2023

Singled out by the President of the Republic, agri-food manufacturers defend margin levels much lower than INSEE estimates. Refineries also explain their results. Are there abuses? Europe 1 unravels the true from the false.

To protect the purchasing power of the French, Emmanuel Macron wants to hunt for abusive margins, at the pump, but also in supermarkets. For this, he wants an agreement to moderate margins in the agri-food sector, and fuel at cost price. However, the executive may well be disappointed in thinking to find martingale.

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A catch-up effect in refineries

It is true that on the refining side, the gross margin has been rising in recent months. In August, it reached 122 euros per tonne, according to the French Union of Petroleum Industries. But it is a catch-up effect.

"This improvement serves us to compensate for what refining has experienced, especially in the fifteen months following the deconfinements, post-Covid," explains the president of the French Union of Petroleum Industries Olivier Gantois.

Disputed figures in the agri-food sector

For agri-food manufacturers, INSEE calculates margin levels well above 40%, figures that are disputed by the federations of the sector which advance levels close to 5%. According to Yves Puget, editorial director of LSA, a specialized magazine, manufacturers have no interest in practicing abusive margins anyway.

"There are inevitably manufacturers and distributors who have benefited from it. But it's an extremely dangerous game. With two-year inflation on food that is a little above 20%, the industrialist who would have abused with margins, as we say today, is positioning himself from the market, which means that his competitors will be cheaper, "reports Yves Puget.

According to information from Europe 1, the federations of industrialists, received Monday at Bercy, asked for new estimates of margins before imagining the famous moderation requested by the President of the Republic.