Reckitt Benckiser fined €24 million for price-fixing

25 November 2011

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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 cleaner Bref.

 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.

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