International Investigation Spurs Class Action Lawsuit Alleging Price-Fixing of Fragrance Compounds and Ingredients
On April 18, 2023, a class action lawsuit was filed against Givaudan SA, International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc., Symrise AG, and Firmenich SA alleging a conspiracy to unlawfully increase prices of fragrance compounds and ingredients (“Fragrance Products”). Fragrance Products are used in a variety of scented products, including perfumes, candles, cosmetics, and personal care products. Collectively, the four defendant companies comprise over 70% of the North American fragrance market. The Fragrance industry is a multi-billion-dollar business, with 2023 revenue in the U.S. projected to be $8.71 billion.
The class action lawsuit follows the announcement of a global antitrust investigation into the market for Fragrance Products. On March 8, 2023, the Swiss Competition Commission announced an antitrust investigation in the fragrance industry involving Firmenich, Symrise, International Flavors & Fragrances and Givaudan. Dawn raids were conducted in coordination with the European Commission, the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division, and the UK Competition and Markets Authority. Thereafter, the European press reported on unannounced inspections, dawn raids and formal requests for documents sent to these four companies, as well as to a global industry association, related to a global investigation of price fixing, market allocation, and output restrictions in the fragrances industry.
International Flavors and Fragrances also reported receiving a grand jury subpoena from the U.S. Department of Justice’s (“DOJ”) Antitrust Division. The issuance of a grand jury subpoena indicates that the investigation is criminal.
The class action complaint, which was brought on behalf of entities that purchased directly from the defendants, alleges that as a result of the alleged price-fixing, purchasers of Fragrance Products, including manufacturers of candles, fragrances, and personal care products, overpaid for Fragrance Products between January 1, 2018 and the present.
Subsequently, a class action complaint was also filed on behalf of indirect purchasers. Indirect purchasers include consumers who purchased products containing Fragrance Products, and companies that purchased Fragrance Products indirectly.
If you purchased:
- Fragrance Products directly or indirectly from Givaudan, International Flavors & Fragrances, Symrise, or Firmenich between 2018 and the present, or
- consumer products containing fragrances between 2018 and the present, such as:
- body wash
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