Supply of products to the furniture industry: anti-competitive arrangements

The CMA has issued 2 decisions finding that 3 suppliers of furniture parts breached competition law and imposing fines totalling £2,818,000.

Case reference: CE/9882-16

Case timetable

Date Action
27 March 2017 Infringement decisions issued
February 2017 Receipt and consideration of representations on the statement of objections
25 January 2017 Statement of objections issued
19 January 2017 Settlement announced
November 2016 Investigation continuing (further update by the end of February 2017)
July 2016 Decision taken to proceed with the investigation (further update by the end of October 2016)
March 2016 to July 2016 (estimate) Initial investigation: information gathering, including the issuance of formal or informal information requests and parties’ responses; potential state of play meetings with parties
30 March 2016 Investigation opened

Infringement decisions

27 March 2017: The CMA issued 2 decisions finding that 3 suppliers of furniture parts have infringed UK and EU competition law.

In one decision, the CMA found that 2 suppliers of drawer wraps infringed competition law between 2006 and 2008 by engaging in an illegal cartel agreement to share the market and co-ordinate commercial behaviour (in particular pricing practices), through bid-rigging and the exchange of confidential competitively sensitive information. The CMA imposed penalties of £1,509,000.

In another decision, the CMA found that 2 suppliers of drawer fronts infringed competition law between 2006 and 2008, and in 2011, by engaging in an illegal cartel agreement to share the market and co-ordinate commercial behaviour (in particular pricing practices), through bid-rigging and the exchange of confidential competitively sensitive information. The CMA imposed penalties of £1,309,000.

Statement of objections

25 January 2017: Following the settlement announced on 19 January 2017, the CMA issued 2 statements of objections setting out the CMA’s case that suppliers of furniture products in the UK have infringed UK and EU competition law.

In one statement of objections, the CMA alleges that 2 suppliers of drawer wraps infringed competition law between 2006 and 2008 by engaging in an illegal cartel agreement to share the market and co-ordinate commercial behaviour (in particular pricing practices), through bid-rigging and the exchange of confidential competitively sensitive information.

In a separate statement of objections, the CMA alleges that 2 suppliers of drawer fronts infringed competition law between 2006 and 2008, and in 2011, by engaging in an illegal cartel agreement to share the market and co-ordinate commercial behaviour (in particular pricing practices), through bid-rigging and the exchange of confidential competitively sensitive information.

Settlement

19 January 2017: Two businesses have admitted infringing competition law in relation to the supply of furniture products in the UK and agreed to pay fines totalling more than £2.8 million. This includes a discount to reflect the resource savings to the CMA generated by the companies’ admissions and their co-operation with the CMA’s investigation. Another business reported its part in the cartel conduct under the CMA’s leniency policy and will not be fined, provided it continues to co-operate and complies with the other conditions of the CMA’s leniency policy.

Contacts

Project directors

Deborah Wilkie (0203 738 6606, deborah.wilkie@cma.gsi.gov.uk)

Ruth Ashworth (0203 738 6848, ruth.ashworth@cma.gsi.gov.uk)

Senior responsible officer

Stephen Blake (0203 738 6469, stephen.blake@cma.gsi.gov.uk)

Help us improve GOV.UK

Don’t include personal or financial information like your National Insurance number or credit card details.