old

Tempur Sealy International has settled a longstanding antitrust investigation alleging vertical price fixing at its German Tempur subsidiary.


US headquartered Tempur Sealy—the world’s largest bedding company—has agreed to pay €15.5m in a move that “fully resolves” the matter, it announced.


The group said it was among several mattress wholesalers and manufacturers to have reached a settlement with the FCO, which followed unannounced inspections of premises including an August 2011 dawn raid at Tempur Deutschland.


The investigation centred around allegations of resale price maintenance, a practice whereby a supplier specifies the minimum or maximum price at which the product must be resold to customers by its distributors, or retailers.


Andreas Mundt, president of the Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s equivalent of the UK’s Competitions and Markets Authority, said: “From August 2005 to July 2011 representatives of Tempur had agreed with the company's retailers that they should offer various mattresses both online and in their bricks-and-mortar stores only at the sales prices recommended by Tempur.”


He added: “Manufacturers may give retailers price recommendations but these must be non-binding. It is prohibited for manufacturers to enter into binding agreements on retail prices with their retailers or even to pressurise them to enforce a certain price level. There can only be real competition if retailers are free to set their prices.”


In August 2014 and February 2015 fines were also imposed on Recticel Schlafkomfort (€8.2m) and Metzeler Schaum (€3.4m) following its resale price maintenance investigation.


The Bundeskartellamt said the Tempur fine brought an end to its investigation into price fixing in the German mattress market. Its cases against two other—unnamed—manufacturers were dropped.