Luxury cosmetics firms to be fined millions by Swiss competition authorities

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cartel

Switzerland’s competition authority (Comco) is proposing to fine luxury cosmetics firms millions of euros for price fixing.

The investigation, which was opened late 2008, looked at the practices of members of ASCOPA (the association of manufacturers, importers and suppliers of cosmetic and perfumery products).

Chanel Genève, Clarins, L’Oréal Produits de Luxe, YSL Beauté, and Parfums Christian Dior, are among the firms investigated by the competition commission and they stand accused of ‘price and quantity’ fixing.

According to Comco, throughout the investigation increasing evidence pointed to the fact that players in the luxury cosmetics market were exchanging information in an attempt to fix prices and secure market shares.

Fines have now been calculated and proposed by Comco that relate to the turnover of the company and the seriousness of the violation.

The companies concerned now have the chance to reply to the action and fines proposed by Comco, which range from CHF17,000 (€11,988) to CHF 25.5m, before the competition authority will take its final decision, explained Patrik Ducrey, deputy director of the Swiss Competition Authority.

Price fixing in Spanish market

Earlier this year personal care giants Sara Lee, Puig and Colgate-Palmolive were fined €8m by the Spanish competition authorities for price fixing.

Spain’s National Competition Commission (CNC) claimed that the cartel agreement that had been in existence since 2005 was relating to disguising a price increase of more than 15 per cent on certain bath and shower gel products.

This was achieved by reducing the capacity of containers without altering the product price, thereby masking the increase in unit price paid by consumers.

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