Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Business News

French fine firms for fixing prices of laundry powder

France's competition authority has slapped fines totalling €361m (£309m) on Colgate Palmolive, Henkel and Procter & Gamble for fixing prices of washing powder in France from 1997 to 2004.

Unilever escaped a fine because it initially reported the wrongdoing in 2008, the regulator said.

Secret talks on pricing took place in hotels and restaurants several times a year, with commercial directors from the groups' French businesses using the code names "Hugues" for Henkel, "Pierre" for P&G, "Laurence" or "Louis" for Unilever, and "Christian" for Colgate, the regulator said.

The fines come just weeks after Reckitt Benckiser was fined in Germany for fixing prices on dishwashing and laundry products in a separate case in which Henkel acted as whistleblower.