The Finnish Competition Authority (“the FCA”) has proposed to the Market Court that a competition infringement fine of €4 million be imposed on the Finnish homeware company Iittala Group Oy Ab for prohibited resale price maintenance.
According to the FCA, Iittala fixed the minimum resale prices for a majority of its most well-known products, including e.g. the Aalto glassware and the Marimekko and Moomin collections, thereby preventing retailers from competing on price by lowering their own margins. Iittala also fixed maximum discount percentages and refused the delivery of products or denied discounts to retailers not following these rules, claims the FCA. According to the FCA, the resale price maintenance covered Iittala’s all major retailers in Finland and lasted for almost three years (2005-2007), notably also after the FCA had commenced its investigation of the matter in 2006.
The FCA did not find it necessary to propose competition infringement fines for the retailers, although some of them were found to have agreed to the prohibited price-fixing, as the price-fixing was based on Iittala’s strategies and agreed upon by the retailers at least partly due to the pressure exerted by Iittala to adhere to this strategy.