France's competition regulator has fined 20 package delivery companies, including the French operations of FedEx and DHL, a total of 672 million euros ($740 million) for colluding on price increases over a period of six years.

The competition authority's ruling Tuesday outlined secret meetings from 2004-2010, and said the price rises implemented were especially damaging to small businesses that use package delivery services.

In one case, companies agreed to a standard system to pass on higher diesel costs to customers, the authority said. And in another, it said some companies had been planning an annual 5 percent increase, but after secret meetings with representatives from other delivery companies, decided to raise them 7 percent instead.

Regulators discovered the activity thanks to a special program of clemency for whistleblowers.