On 18 December 2014, the French Competition Authority ("FCA") imposed record fines totalling € 951.1 million in two separate decisions against a number of manufacturers active on the market of cleaning products and the market of hygiene and personal care products. The FCA found that these manufacturers had, for each of these markets, coordinated their commercial policy towards large retail chains as well as coordinated their price increases from 2003 to 2006.
In the first decision, the FCA imposed fines of € 605.9 million on ten manufacturers representing over 70% of the market for hygiene and personal care products. The addressees of the decision include Henkel, Reckitt Benckiser, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, L'Oréal, Johnson & Johnson and Beiersdorf. The fines range from € 8.13 million (Johnson & Johnson) to over € 189 million (L'Oréal). Colgate-Palmolive was exempt from fines as it benefited from immunity under the Leniency Notice for blowing the whistle on the cartel arrangements, while Henkel had its fine reduced by 30% for cooperating with the investigation. Most of the other addressees had their fines reduced by 16% to 18 % for not contesting the facts.
In the second decision, fines totalling more than € 345 million were imposed on eight manufacturers representing over 70% of the market for cleaning products. The addressees of the decision include Colgate-Palmolive, Reckitt Benckiser, Unilever, Procter & Gamble and Bolton Manitoba. The fines range from € 7.9 million (Bolton Manitoba) to over € 108 million (Reckitt-Benckiser). SC Johnson received immunity under the Leniency Notice for blowing the whistle, while Colgate-Palmolive and Henkel respectively received 50% and 25% reductions for cooperating with the investigation. Most of the other addressees had their fines reduced by 16% to 18% for not contesting the facts.
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