Germany's cartel office said it would fine a number of consumer goods companies $51 million for taking part in anti-competitive sharing of information. The cartel office said that L'Oréal, Procter & Gamble, Beiersdorf, GlaxoSmithKline and Erdal-Rex (a cleaning products company), had shared information between 2004 and 2006 during working groups on personal care, laundry and cleaning products.
The information exchanged included upcoming price increases, discounts demanded by retailers and negotiations with retailers.
The probe was triggered by Colgate-Palmolive, which escaped fines for its role as whistleblower. The watchdog had already fined nine companies a total of 24 million euros as part of the same investigation in 2008 and 2011.
L'Oréal and P&G both said they would appeal the decision.