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24 November 2011 | Angeline Albert
Consumer goods firm Reckitt Benckiser has been fined €24 million (£20.6 million) for fixing the price of
dishwasher detergent bought by retailers.
The German Federal Cartel Office (FCO)
fined the company for collusion with Persil manufacturer Henkel between 2005
and 2007. Reckitt Benckiser and Henkel agreed the level and dates of price
increases they would charge retailers.
Andreas Mundt, president of the FCO, said
in a statement: "In several cases, Reckitt Benckiser and Henkel have
agreed price increases for dishwasher detergent of the brands Calgonit [owned
by Reckitt Benckiser] and Somat [owned by Henkel]. For years, both companies
have between them co-ordinated price increases for their products.”
Henkel applied for leniency, bringing the
cartel to the attention of the authorities, and therefore escaped a fine.
Reckitt’s fine was reduced due to its co-operation with authorities.
Brands affected by the cartel activity
included Reckitt’s Calgonit, washing powder additive Vanish Oxi Action and all-purpose
cleaner Cilit Bang, along with Henkel’s Somat, washing powder additive Sil, and
Prices were raised between 5 and 8 per cent, and the FCO
estimated that an agreement to reduce the size of packaging led to an indirect
price increase of 13 per cent.
A spokeswoman for Reckitt said the company
would not be appealing against the fine and had resolved the matter.