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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