May 3, 2018 / 5:27 PM / 4 months ago

UPDATE 1-Kimberly-Clark de Mexico sinks on news of antitrust probe

(Recasts with market reaction, company, analyst comments)

MEXICO CITY, May 3 (Reuters) - Shares in Kimberly-Clark de Mexico sank to nearly a three-year low on Thursday after the country’s antitrust agency said it was investigating price fixing in the market for cellulose-based personal hygiene products, such as diapers and toilet paper.

Kimberly-Clark de Mexico, which is minority-owned by U.S.-based Kimberly-Clark Corp, dropped as much as 6.5 percent to trade at its lowest since April 2015.

The Federal Commission for Economic Competition, or Cofece, said in a notice in the government’s daily gazette that it had discovered evidence of possible price fixing and collusion in the market for some cellulose-based hygiene goods.

Cofece did not provide details on the investigation or name any companies. But Kimberly-Clark de Mexico is the leader in the market of personal hygiene products in Mexico, according to the company’s website.

A stock analyst, who did not want to be named because he was not authorized to speak with media, said the Cofece news was hitting Kimberly-Clark shares since it was the only listed company that made such products.

Kimberly-Clark de Mexico said in a filing with the Mexican stock exchange that it was cooperating with investigators and “acting in strict compliance with the law and its own code of conduct.”

Cofece can often take more than two years to complete investigations once they are opened. (Reporting by Veronica Gomez and Sheky Espejo; Editing by Tom Brown)

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