Chilean toilet paper scandal revealed

Chile’s two major toilet paper makers, CMPC Tissue and SCA Chile colluded illegally to set prices for more than ten years, the nation’s competitive practices regulator says.

As AFP reports, the regulator found that the two companies began colluding in 2000 when they forced a rival manufacturer out of the market and continued to fix prices until at least 2011.

A court accepted the regulator’s accusation that the companies controlled the prices of not just toilet paper but also napkins, absorbent towels and other products.

The regulator is asking the antitrust court to fine SCA Chile $15 million. CMPC Tissue is not expected to be fined because the company acknowledged the anticompetitive conduct earlier this year.

“The fact that some of our executives carried out acts that go against free competition is illegal and also deeply affects our way of acting as a company, our corporate policies and our organisational culture,” CMPC said in a statement.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet called the allegations "a matter of the highest gravity" and said he would speed up passage of a bill to increase sanctions against price-fixing.

“This sort of abuse harms people, the economy and the image of our country,” Bachelet said.

Image: Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images

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