German competition authorities have fined units of Henkel, Sara Lee and Unilever some €37 million (Dh199m) for price-fixing and illegally sharing information with retailers, a statement said on Wednesday.
The Federal Cartel Office said the companies agreed in early 2006 to raise by five per cent the price of Pril and Palmolive washing up detergents, Fa, Duschdas and Palmolive shower gels, and Signal, Dentagard and Colgate toothpaste brands.
The products are made by Henkel, Sara Lee, Unilever and Colgate-Palmolive. Colgate-Palmolive cooperated with the investigation and would thus avoid a fine, the office said.
The companies also exchanged information about ongoing price talks with retailers, in particular regarding requests for price rebates, the cartel office said.
"The exchange of sensitive information on negotiations on price rebates limits competition and is contrary to German and European anti-cartel laws," cartel office head Bernhard Heitzer said in a statement.
The companies can appeal the fines to the Higher Regional Court in Dusseldorf, western Germany, the statement said. (AFP)
German anti-cartel office fines Henkel, Sara Lee and Unilever