Germany: Five furniture firms fined over price fixing

Germany’s national competition regulator, The Federal Cartel Office, has fined five furniture manufacturers for price fixing in the resale of furniture on retailers.

The fines totalled a combined €4.43m and were imposed on aeris GmbH, hülsta-werke Hüls GmbH, Kettler GmbH, Rolf Benz AG, KG and Zebra Nord GmbH, as well as on four managers who were involved.

The FCO stated that proceedings were initiated after complaints by retailers, which resulted in the search of each manufacturers factory between June 2014 and July 2015.

After an investigation, the FCO revealed that the manufacturers had applied ‘inadmissible pressure’ on lower-price retailers in order to influence shop prices, as well as threatening to refuse to supply if the terms were not adhered to.

Andreas Mundt, president of the Bundeskartellamt (FCO), said: “Manufacturers may only make non-binding price recommendations to retailers and not oblige them to comply with set resale prices. If competition between retailers is restricted, it is the customer who suffers.

“The brand manufacturers concerned cover the entire product range from free-standing and upholstered furniture and office chairs through to garden and leisure furniture.”

Full Content: Cabinet Maker

Want more news? Subscribe to CPI’s free daily newsletter for more headlines and updates on antitrust developments around the world.