PARIS — France’s competition authority on Thursday fined 11 hygiene product makers a total of 605.9 million euros, or $745.6 million at current exchange, for price fixing between 2003 and 2006.


The fines, it said, are for the companies “having coordinated their commercial policies with mass-market retailers and in particular for having consulted on raising prices.”


Firms named by the competition authority include Colgate-Palmolive, Henkel, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser, Sara Lee, Laboratoires Vendôme, Gillette, L’Oréal, Beiersdorf and Vania.


L’Oréal was slapped with the steepest fine, of 189 million euros, or $232.6 million. Unilever, meanwhile, was charged 102 million euros, or $125.5 million.


L’Oréal said it will appeal the decision.


“L’Oréal refutes accusations of anticompetitive activity with its competitors and regrets that the French competition authority did not take into account the highly competitive French market in hygiene products as illustrated by the number of manufacturers and retailers present on the market, the large choice of products available to consumers and the degree of innovation and number of launches,” the company stated. “L’Oréal is totally committed to respecting antitrust laws.”


All of the firms involved in the case — which also includes eight household products-makers that have been fined a total of 345.2 million euros, or $424.8 million — have one month to place an appeal in Paris.

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