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Antitrust Court fines Lenzing

Antitrust Court fines Lenzing

The background to the penalty is that the Hygiene Austria joint venture was established by Lenzing and Palmers before it was registered with the Federal Competition Authority. According to BWB, Palmers and Lenzing registered the establishment of the joint venture on 11 May 2020. This was issued on 26 May 2020 due to the lack of competition concerns.

But through a parliamentary question, the authority realized that the merger may have already taken place before BWB registered and completed its examination. The two companies had already appeared in the media and in public as if the merger had already taken place. The companies reported incorporation via APA-OTS on April 24, 2020, according to BWB.

Palmers denied this fact, but Lenzing did not. Lenzing's cooperation with BWB was taken into account as a mitigating circumstance, and BWB therefore requested a fine of €75,000 against the company. But for the Palmers, the Cartel Court has been asked to impose an “appropriate fine” and the proceedings have not yet been completed.

Hygiene Austria was founded in spring 2020 by Palmers and Lenzing as a joint venture to produce mouth-nose protection (MNS) and FFP2 protective masks. Palmers is now the sole owner of the company, which declared bankruptcy in January 2024. In 2021 and 2022, the FFP2 mask scandal rocked the company. Hygiene Austria presented itself to the outside world as a company offering “Made in Austria” products and received extensive government contracts. But it later turned out that some masks coming from China had been sold.