Spain: beauty product giants operated cartel

AP News
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Posted: Mar 04, 2011 7:29 AM
Spain: beauty product giants operated cartel

Spanish anti-trust authorities have meted out euro50 million ($70 million) in fines for price-fixing involving beauty parlor products sold by local units of companies such as L'Oreal and Procter & Gamble.

The National Competition Commission says eight companies formed a cartel as far back as 1989, called it the G8 and have been meeting twice a year to coordinate pricing and other strategies.

The panel said in a statement Thursday that Henkel Iberica, a company that was part of the cartel, informed on the others and under a law passed in 2008 is exempt from punishment.

The Spanish unit of French cosmetics giant L'Oreal was slapped with a euro23.2 million fine, the highest in the group.

It issued a statement denying it engaged in price-fixing, saying its meeting with other companies in the sector were strictly for the purpose of comparing statistical information and that it will appeal the government commission's ruling.

A call Friday seeking comment from Productos Cosmetics S.L.U., whose parent company is Procter & Gamble, was not immediately returned.

The commission named the other companies it is fining as The Colomer Group Spain, Eugene Perma Espana, Cosmetica Cosbar (Montibello), Cosmetica Tecnica (Lendan), and DSP Haircare Products. The panel also fined an industry group called the National Association of Perfume and Cosmetics, calling it part of the cartel.