Decision 21-D-14 of French Competition Authority (FCA) regarding Kärcher SAS

An Analysis Group team, led by Managing Principal Antoine Chapsal, Vice President Emmanuel Frot, and Manager Lucien Frys provided economic support to Kärcher SAS and its counsels, Cleary Gottlieb and HWH, in their successful bid to obtain a dismissal of the French Competition Authority’s (FCA’s) resale price maintenance claims. After almost 10 years of proceedings, the FCA concluded that the German power cleaning equipment manufacturer’s recommended resale pricing practices did not amount to anticompetitive resale price maintenance.

The Analysis Group team provided analysis and critiques of economic arguments advanced by the FCA. In particular, the team’s expert reports demonstrated that the retailers made their own pricing decisions without regard to Kärcher’s recommended prices, and that Kärcher had no reaction to these pricing decisions. In such a context, recommended prices cannot have anticompetitive effects.

In addition, using disaggregated data, the team showed that pricing policies, as well as promotional offers, varied across retailers and shops in accordance with their commercial conditions and competitive environment, thereby invalidating the theory of harm presented by the investigation services. Dr. Chapsal presented the results of Analysis Group’s analyses before the FCA’s ruling body.

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