On 20 November 2020, the Investigation and Prosecution Service of the Belgian Competition Authority announced that it had submitted a motivated proposal for decision to the President of the Belgian Competition Authority regarding alleged anticompetitive practices committed by Caudalie, a company that produces and distributes cosmetics and sells them via a selective distributors network. The practices under investigation concern the imposition of a minimum resale price on its selective distributors by establishing a maximum discount level and the limitation of active and passive sales by its selective distributors that are active online for sales to customers established in another Member State.
The investigation was launched in November 2017, and in February 2018 the Investigation and Prosecution Service carried out inspections (so-called dawn raids) in Belgium and at Caudalie’s headquarters in France.
On completion of the investigation, the Competition Prosecutor concluded that there was enough evidence to present the case before the Competition College and to demonstrate the existence of anticompetitive practices in violation of Article IV.1 of the Code of Economic Law and Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
The Competition College will now assess the case. Caudalie will be able to present written comments on the proposal for decision and will be heard at the hearing before the Competition Council. Third parties may intervene at this stage if they can demonstrate an interest in the case. The Competition College will assess whether or not there has been an infringement of competition law and, if an infringement is established, If the Competition College establishes that there has been an infringement of competition law, it can impose a fine on Caudalie of up to 10% of its global turnover in 2019. The final decision of the Competition College may be challenged before the Market Court.