P&G, Beiersdorf and L’Oréal fined over €40m for price-fixing

Collective fine for manufacturers and retailers totals €174m

A total of 18 retailers and manufacturers in the drugstore, perfumery and personal care industries have been fined €174m collectively over price-fixing in Belgium.

Among the manufacturers being asked to pay up are P&G, Beiersdorf, Bolton, Colgate-Palmolive, L’Oréal, Reckitt Benkiser (Belgium) and Unilever. Retailers also sanctioned include Carrefour, Colruyt, Cora, Intermarché and Makro, among others.

The companies were fined by the Investigation and Prosecution Service of the Belgian Competition Authority after they took part in coordinated increases of consumer prices for drugstore, perfumery and personal care products between 2002 and 2007.

According to a statement from the Investigation and Prosecution Service of the Belgian Competition Authority, the core of the infringement was found to be at retail level, “with suppliers acting as intermediaries and facilitators, each of them exclusively for their respective products”.

The incident was denounced in 2006 by Colgate-Palmolive which, as a result, benefitted from full immunity from fines as part of a leniency programme. In addition, Reckitt Benckiser (Belgium) and GSK also applied for leniency and were granted a reduction.

All of the companies acknowledged their involvement in the infringement, and as a result, benefited from a 10% reduction in the fine.

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