Chilean court fines CMPC and Sweden's SCA for collusion scheme

SANTIAGO, Jan 6 (Reuters) - The Chilean Supreme Court fined local paper manufacturer CMPC and a division of Sweden’s SCA for having colluded for at least a decade in the Chilean tissue and toilet paper market, the Chilean antitrust authority said Monday.

The National Economic Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement that the Supreme Court applied fines of about $15 million to each company for “having assigned market share quotas and having set sales prices for these products between 2000 and 2011.”

In October 2015, Chile’s FNE regulator said CMPC and SCA subsidiary PISA had colluded for at least a decade to control nearly 90% of the Chilean tissue and toilet paper market, inflating prices. The scheme generated benefits for the companies of up to $460 million, a study by the nation’s competition regulator said at the time.

SCA had accused CMPC of having organized the scheme and coercing it to participate, according to the prosecutor.

In a statement on Monday, CMPC said that it collaborated with the investigation and “denied the existence of coercion,” although the company said it respected the ruling and complied with the court’s decision.

Reporting by Natalia Ramos; Writing by Cassandra Garrison Editing by Leslie Adler