PARIS — The European Commission said it has carried out unannounced inspections of the premises of companies and one association active in the fragrance industry in numerous member states. It is trying to find if there’s any collusion linked to the supply of fragrance and fragrance ingredients.
The commission, which did not release the names of those companies and associated that were inspected, added that at the same time the commission has sent out formal requests for information to several companies that are active in the same industry.
“The inspection and requests for information concern possible collusion in relation to supply of fragrances and fragrance ingredients,” the EC said in a statement. “Fragrances are used in the manufacturer of consumer products, such as household and personal care products.”
The commission said it has been in contact with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority and the Swiss Competition Commission related to this subject. The inspections took place in consultation with them.
“The commission officials were accompanied by their counterparts from the national competition authorities of the member states where the inspections were carried out,” the EC said.
According to the commission, unannounced inspections are the first step into investigating anticompetitive practices. The commission underlined that such inspections being carried out doesn’t mean the companies are guilty and that they do not prejudge the investigation’s outcome.
There is not a legal deadline to complete questioning into anticompetitive conduct.
“Under the commission’s leniency program companies that have been involved in a secret cartel may be granted immunity from fines or significant reductions in fines in return for reporting the conduct and cooperating with the commission throughout its investigation,” the EC said.
Such reports, the commission said, can be done anonymously.