FRANKFURT, March 18 Germany's cartel office said
it would fine a number of consumer goods companies 39 million
euros ($51 million), including L'Oreal and Procter &
Gamble in Germany, for taking part in anti-competitive
sharing of information.
The cartel office said the companies had shared information
between 2004 and 2006 during working groups on personal care,
laundry and cleaning products.
The information exchanged included upcoming price increases,
discounts demanded by retailers and negotiations with retailers.
The probe was triggered by Colgate-Palmolive, which
escaped fines for its role as whistleblower.
The watchdog had already fined nine companies a total of 24
million euros as part of the same investigation in 2008 and
The companies also fined on Monday were Beiersdorf
, the German units of Gillette - also part of P&G - and
GlaxoSmithKline, as well as Erdal-Rex GmbH.
The Markenverband association of German brands, which ran
the regular working groups, was also fined for supporting the
exchange of information.
L'Oreal and P&G both said they would appeal the decision.
"L'Oreal Germany did not take part in any anti-competitive
exchange of information," the company said in a statement.
A P&G spokeswoman said one of the company's key principles
was to work within the letter of the law wherever it operated.
GlaxoSmithKline in Germany and Erdal-Rex, which makes
cleaning products under the Frosch brand, were not immediately
available for comment. The Markenverband association said it
would review the decision before deciding whether to appeal.
Beiersdorf has already agreed a settlement with the
authorities and so cannot appeal.
Those companies previously fined as part of the same
investigation include Henkel and Reckitt Benckiser