July 23, 2023
  • Lawsuits in New Jersey Federal Court Hit Symrise, Givaudan and Others
  • Hausfeld, Quinn Emanuel among firms representing plaintiffs

Four major European and U.S. flavor and fragrance producers are facing a growing number of price-fixing lawsuits in U.S. court, after Swiss and other antitrust authorities revealed a cartel investigation earlier this year.

A prospective class action filed in federal court in New Jersey on Thursday by a pair of big U.S. plaintiffs firms is the latest of at least nine cases against Swiss companies Givaudan (GIVN.S) and Firmenich, which is merging with Dutch chemicals group DSM; U.S.-based International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF.N); and Germany's Symrise (SY1G.DE).

The lawsuits, filed on behalf of direct and indirect fragrance purchasers, followed the European Commission's announcement in March that antitrust authorities had raided Symrise, Givaudan and Firmenich. Inspectors said they carried out their inquiries in consultation with the U.S. Justice Department and the UK Competition and Markets Authority.

The U.S. lawsuits contend the companies conspired to divide up the production of synthetic and natural ingredients used to make fragrances in products such as detergents, cosmetics and perfumes.

In the latest case, law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, working with Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, sued on behalf of Texas-based Crimson Candle Supplies and other businesses that sell scented products.

Other plaintiffs include Pennsylvania hair-care and cosmetics company Cospro Development; and Arkansas-based Hanna's Candle. Hanna's described itself in its complaint as one of the country's largest candle companies.

"All defendants consistently increased their prices and faced no repercussions for doing so," lawyers for Crimson Candle wrote in Thursday's complaint.

Read Flavor, Fragrance Makers Face Wave of US Antitrust Lawsuits after EU Cartel Raids.