Switzerland: perfumery and cosmetics companies in breach of Cartel Act – the Swiss Competition Commission COMCO has prohibited ASCOPA, the Association of Manufacturers, Importers and Suppliers of Cosmetic and Perfumery Products, and its members from exchanging market-sensitive information. Such exchange allows companies to align their market conduct and is in breach of the Cartel Act. As the practice does not fall into the category of directly sanctionable conduct, no sanctions will be imposed on the companies.
A formal enquiry into the Association of Manufacturers, Importers and Suppliers of Cosmetic and Perfumery Products (ASCOPA) and its members was opened by the COMCO secretatiat after a voluntary declaration by one of the companies involved. Businesses being targeted by the enquiry are the Swiss subsidiary companies and distributors of leading manufacturers in the luxury cosmetics branch: the Beauté Prestige, Bergerat, Bulgari Parfums, Chanel, Clarins, Coty, Deurocos Cosmetic, Doyat Diffusion, Elizabeth Arden, Estée Lauder, Kanebo Cosmetics, La Prairie Group/Juvena, Laboratoires Biologiques Arval, L’Oréal Produits de Luxe, Parfums Christian Dior, Parfums de Luxe Ltd, Parlux Diffusion, PC Parfums Cosmétiques, P&G Prestige Products, Puig, Richemont, Sisley, Star Cos, Tanner, Tschanz Distribution, Wodma 41 and YSL Beauté.
It is alleged that the companies involved formed a cartel through which they exchanged market-sensitive information on prices, sales and promotional costs, as well as on general terms and business conditions. In this way they were able to align their conduct in the market. The alignment resulted in considerable restrictions on competition in the perfumery and cosmetics market. COMCO views the practice of exchanging such information as being in breach of the Cartel Act and on October 31, 2011 it issued a disposition ordering the practice to be discontinued.
As the practice does not fall into the category of directly sanctionable conduct, no sanctions will be imposed on the companies. Companies contravening the ruling of the competition authorities, however, will be liable to penalties.
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