SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Kimberly-Clark Corp and competitor CMPC allegedly fixed prices for diaper products in Chile between 2002 and 2009, according to a document sent to the nation’s competition regulator, daily newspaper La Tercera reported on Tuesday.
The companies agreed on price hikes, coordinated promotional activities, and shared information regarding pricing that would have affected the tissue and sanitary businesses, according to the document, which was written by CMPC and sent to the regulator, FNE. The paper said it reviewed the document.
“Kimberly-Clark is aware of the claims made by CMPC regarding alleged activity taking place prior to 2009 and have pledged our full cooperation to Chilean authorities to assist in their investigation,” the company said, declining further comment. CMPC was not available to comment.
According to the document, the agreements were primarily involving baby diapers but also involved other products in the sanitary business.
“These bad practices by some businessmen directly affect confidence and curb our chances of development ... we can’t allow this to be repeated,” Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet said in a televised speech.
In December 2015, Peru’s consumer regulator said it could sanction Kimberly-Clark with a fine of up to 12 percent of its earnings after CMPC reported the two companies, which together control 88 percent of the toilet and tissue paper market in Peru, fixed prices for years.
CMPC and a subsidiary of Swedish-owned SCA were found by antitrust authorities in October 2015 to have colluded for at least a decade in Chile’s tissue paper market.
CMPC shares were down 2.8 percent on the Santiago Stock Exchange. Kimberly was little changed.
Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe