On Tuesday, the European Commission raided companies and an organization in the fragrance industry for possible violations of cartel rules. Brussels said the “unannounced inspections” took place in several European Union member states.
The committee has also sent formal requests for information to various companies active in fragrances.
According to a statement, there may be cooperation in the supply of fragrances and ingredients for fragrances used in consumer products such as personal care and household goods. However, the committee says it is concerned that competition rules have been violated.
The committee mentioned no names. Nor was it stated in which Member States the inspections took place. However, Brussels is cooperating in the investigation with the American, British and Swiss authorities and says the searches took place in consultation. In addition, the Commission’s inspectors were assisted by the national competition authorities of the Member States.
The committee states that the searches are a first and preliminary step in investigating possible cartel violations. However, Brussels also says that these searches do not mean companies are guilty of violating the rules.
The EU fine for violating cartel rules can amount to 10 percent of a company’s annual turnover. However, companies involved in secret cartel formation, reporting it, and cooperating with the European Commission’s investigation can be granted immunity or a substantial reduction in fines.