Unilever, P&G fined 315 mln euros for EU cartel

BRUSSELS, April 13 Wed Apr 13, 2011 5:45am EDT

BRUSSELS, April 13 (Reuters) - Consumer goods giants Unilever (ULVR.L)(UNc.AS) and Procter & Gamble (PG.N) were fined 315.2 million euros ($456 million) by EU regulators on Wednesday for fixing washing powder prices in eight EU countries.

Germany's Henkel (HNKG_p.DE), which alerted the European Commission to the cartel in laundry detergent, was not penalised.

The fines for Unilever (UNc.AS) and P&G were reduced by 10 percent under the Commission's settlement procedure, after they admitted taking part in the cartel which had lasted three years, the EU watchdog said.

"By acknowledging their participation in the cartel, the companies enabled the Commission to swiftly conclude its investigation," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement.

The cartel operated in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, editing by Rex Merrifield)

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