GFCO Fines Cosmetics Companies for Collusion

July 11, 2008 | Contact Author | By: Katie Schaefer
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Germany's Federal Cartel Office has fined eight cosmetics groups almost €10 million for sharing strategic information that led to collusion and price-fixing. Nine companies and 13 directors or ex-directors were affected by the decision, including German subsidiaries of Chanel, Clarins SA, Coty Prestige Lancaster, Yves Saint Laurent Beaute, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, L'Oréal SA, Estée Lauder Cos. and Shiseido Co. Ltd.

The firms were found to have exchanged information with each other such as sales figures, prices and product returns, advertising expenditures and planned product launches since at least 1995, according to the office. Their actions reportedly raised the risk of a market collaboration. In addition, the information sharing violates laws in both Germany and Europe. Individual fines ranged from €250,000 to €2.1 million, but the groups can still appeal the decision.