PZ Cussons Pty Ltd’s victory in a cartel case brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission


Allens has acted for multinational consumer goods company PZ Cussons Pty Ltd (PZ Cussons) in successfully defending a cartel case brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). On 24 May 2019, the Full Federal Court dismissed an appeal brought by the ACCC, with costs.

In 2013, the ACCC first took action against:

PZ Cussons and Colgate-Palmolive, alleging they had entered into a cartel in relation to the supply of laundry detergents with a third laundry detergent supplier, Unilever; and

Woolworths and a former Colgate-Palmolive sales director, alleging they were knowingly concerned in the contraventions by PZ Cussons, Colgate-Palmolive and Unilever.

The other respondents in the proceeding – Colgate-Palmolive and Woolworths – settled with the ACCC in 2016, paying pecuniary penalties of $18m and $9m respectively. PZ Cussons denied any wrongdoing.

In 2017, the Federal Court decided in favour of PZ Cussons, finding there was no arrangement or understanding between the suppliers. In February 2018, the ACCC appealed the Federal Court’s decision.

Allens represented PZ Cussons Pty Ltd with a team including Jacqueline Downes (PIcture), Lisa Lucak (Senior Associate) and Kon Stellios (former Partner).

Involved fees earner: Jacqueline Downes – Allens; Lisa Lucak – Allens; Kon Stellios – Allens;

Law Firms: Allens;

Clients: PZ Cussons Pty Ltd;