L'Oréal, Chanel Face Possible Price-fixing Fines in Switzerland

Posted on May 28, 2010 @ 07:48 am

The secretariat of Switzerland's competition commission said that several major perfume manufacturers, including L'Oreal SA and Chanel Geneve, might be fined because of price-fixing. The investigation,which began in December 2008, looked into the Federation of Manufacturers, Importers and Suppliers of cosmetic and perfumery products and its members. Other manufacturers that may be involved include Clarins SA, Parfums Christian Dior and YSL Beaute.

"During the investigation, evidence mounted that the companies involved exchanged information in order to adjust prices to each other and lock in market share," the secretariat said in a statement.

The secretariat's recommendation goes to the competition commission itself for a final ruling. An 18-month-long investigation by the Federal Competition Commission said fines would range up to SFr25.5 million ($22 million) and would hit the majority of members of Ascopa, a Geneva-based association of manufacturers, importers and suppliers of perfumes and make-up.

Regulators said the fines are based on company sales and the severity of the antitrust violations. Companies will have a chance to comment on the investigation’s findings before the fines are imposed.

"L'Oreal Produits de Luxe Suisse S.A and YSL Beaute Suisse S.A deny any breach of the Cartel Act that could have been intended to distort competition," said L'Oreal spokeswoman Stephanie Carson-Parker. The companies would respond to the regulator in due course once they had received and analysed the proposed decision, she added.