Friday, June 14, 2024

Colgate ordered to pay $18 million penalty

The Federal Court has made orders that Colgate-Palmolive pay total penalties of $18 million in proceedings brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Colgate admitted to entering understandings that limited the supply, and controlled the price, of laundry detergents, and agreed with the ACCC to joint submissions on penalty being put to the court.

The court described the conduct as serious and the penalty as significant, but proportionate.

“By ordering these substantial penalties, the court has recognised the seriousness of this conduct, which affected the supply and pricing of laundry detergents, a consumer staple,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

Colgate admitted to reaching an agreement between Unilever Australia, Cussons Australia and itself to stop supplying standard concentrate laundry detergents in 2009, and to supply only ultra concentrates from that time. The ACCC alleged that Woolworths and a Colgate sales director, Paul Ansell, were knowingly involved in the conduct. By consent, the court ordered that Mr Ansell be disqualified from managing corporations for seven years and pay a contribution of $75,000 towards the ACCC’s costs.

The hearing against Woolworths and Cussons will be heard in June 2016. Unilever applied for, and was granted, status as the immunity applicant in the matter.

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