PARIS (Reuters) - L‘Oreal (OREP.PA) said on Thursday it would appeal a 2.6 million euro ($3 million) fine imposed by Greece’s competition authority, which ruled that the French cosmetics company and several of its rivals were fixing prices.
The local beauty products business of France’s Christian Dior - part of luxury goods group LVMH (LVMH.PA) - was also fined just under 1.8 million euros, while U.S.-based Estee Lauder (EL.N) got the biggest fine, at 5.4 million euros.
Greece’s anti-trust commission fined six cosmetics companies a total of 18.7 million euros after investigating allegations that luxury cosmetics wholesalers were agreeing on the discounts to be applied to their products when resold in shops and indirectly fixing prices as a result. Three Greek companies were included in the six.
“L‘Oreal Hellas denies any accusations of unlawful competition,” the company said. L‘Oreal, which owns brands such as Lancome and Kiehl‘s, is the world’s biggest cosmetics and beauty products company.
Christian Dior could not immediately be reached for comment. Estee Lauder said in a statement it was “reviewing the authority’s decision with the intention to appeal.”
Greece’s Sarantis SRSr.AT, which was slapped with a 1.9 million-euro fine, had also said on Wednesday that it would appeal the ruling and disputed the size of the fine.
“There had never been any kind of agreement between the distributors of luxury cosmetics in Greece with the aim to set cosmetics sale prices,” Sarantis said in a statement. Sarantis also has a 49 percent stake in a joint venture with Estee Lauder in Greece.
Reporting by Pascale Denis and Sarah White. Editing by Jane Merriman