Woolies Slugged $9m Fine For Involvement With Laundry Detergent Cartel

Well here’s a bizarro tale for your Friday afternoon: Woolworths has been slugged with a $9 million fine for its involvement with a laundry detergent cartel.

According to reports, Woolies admitted to being “knowingly concerned” about an arrangement between laundry detergent giants Colgate-Palmolive, PZ Cussons and Unilever.

Years ago, all three parties agreed that they’d stop supplying standard concentrates to Woolies in early 2009, and only supply ultra concentrates – which are more concentrated and therefore cheaper to produce and ship – instead.

However, the consumer watchdog alleged that the agreement meant those savings were not passed on to consumers, knowledge of which has resulted in Woolies copping the said $9 million fine.

The fine “reflects the objective seriousness of the contraventions,” Federal Court Justice Jayne Jagot said on handing down the penalty.

“This penalty is the largest the ACCC has obtained against a party that was an accessory to competition law breaches by being knowingly concerned in anticompetitive conduct,” said ACCC chairman Rodd Sims in a statement.

Colgate has already been slugged an $18 million penalty for admitted breaches in relation to the same incident. PZ Cussons, on the other hand, is maintaining its innocence.

Source: ABC / The Australian.
Photo: Getty / Torsten Blackwood.