Anticompetitive practices: investigators in the Italian premises of Gucci, announces the Kering group

Gucci achieved more than 10 billion euros in sales in 2022 (AFP/Archives/MIGUEL MEDINA)

“An inspection of Gucci’s Italian premises” began on Tuesday as part of a preliminary investigation launched in several countries by the European Commission which suspects anti-competitive practices, Kering, Gucci’s parent company, announced on Wednesday in a press release.

“The group is cooperating fully with the Commission in the context of this investigation,” Kering said in this brief statement. The European Commission announced on Tuesday that it had carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of several companies in the fashion sector suspected of cartel, “in several EU member states”.

“The Commission is concerned that the companies concerned may have breached EU rules prohibiting cartels and restrictive business practices,” it said in a statement.

Anti-competitive practices are subject to significant fines. But companies that have participated in a cartel can benefit from immunity or a significant reduction in the fine incurred if they denounce these practices and cooperate with the investigators.

Kering, which is due to publish its first quarter sales next Tuesday, exceeded 20 billion in sales in 2022. Its flagship brand Gucci, with 10.48 billion euros in turnover, had “not achieved the best performance”, said Kering CEO François-Henri Pinault at the time. The brand also had to replace its stylist Alessandro Michele, who left in November.

In early March, the European Commission announced that it was carrying out inspections at the premises of perfume and flavoring companies also suspected of anti-competitive practices. Four big names in the sector were concerned by this investigation: Firmenich International SA (Geneva), Givaudan SA (Geneva), International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. (USA) and Symrise AG (Germany).

© 2023 AFP

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