German Anti-Cartel Office Fines Cosmetic Firms | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 11.07.2008
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German Anti-Cartel Office Fines Cosmetic Firms

Germany's Federal Cartel Office has fined the German units of nine cosmetics companies including Chanel and L'Oréal a total of almost 10 million euros ($15.7 million) for sharing strategic information.


The German Cartel Office accused the cosmetics giants of sharing secrets

Individual fines ranging from 250,000 euros to 2.1 million euros, are to be imposed on the German units of the companies as well as 13 present or former managers of these companies, the regulator said in a statement.

The nine companies targeted by the decision are Chanel, Clarins, Cosmopolitan Cosmetics Prestige -- now called P&G Prestige Products -- Coty Prestige Lancaster, Estee Lauder, L'Oreal, LVMH Parfums & Kosmetik, Shiseido and YSL Beaute.

The firms were found to have systematically exchanged information since at least 1995 on products, prices, results and advertising campaigns, the office said in a statement.

Their actions raised the risk of market collaboration, it added. The companies can appeal the fines at the appellate court in Duesseldorf.

Executives held regular meetings

The Cartel Office said that representatives of the nine companies would meet four times a year to discuss their recent sales figures, advertising costs, planned product launches and price increases.

"This exchange of information creates the danger of coordination of market behavior among cosmetics makers," the Cartel Office said, adding that such coordination breaches both German and European anti-trust law.

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