Price-fix firm to watchdog: Give us ‘level playing field’

THE FIRM at the centre of the price-fixing scandal in the UK lighting industry has called on the Government’s competition watchdog to create a ‘level playing field’ in the sector.

Referring to its recent £2.7 million fine for maintaining minimum selling prices for both online and offline sales in breach of competition law, the Poole-based National Lighting Company acknowledged undertaking certain practices but said they ‘were never aimed at harming consumers’.

The company had ‘merely sought to protect its bricks and mortar customers from the significant damage being done to them by the free riding of certain internet resellers’.

The National Lighting Company is calling on the Competitions and Market Authority – headed by Andrea Coscelli, above – is ensure a 'level playing field' in the lighting industry over prices of on-line goods and those sold through physical outlets

The National Lighting Company – which has annual sales of £120 million – said it accepted the findings of the Competition and Markets Authority, acknowledged that it had breached competition law and ceased those practices as soon as the investigation began.

However, it called on the CMA to ensure, through its ongoing work within the lighting industry, the creation of a level playing field for all suppliers. ‘It is evident that efforts to influence resale prices remain widespread and other companies will have to comply with the law or face significant fines’, the company said in a statement.

The NLC is ‘excited about its future, and going forward intends to work with best in class retailers, be they bricks and mortar, internet or both to design, develop and supply industry leading lighting products that our customers want, trust and value’.

The company, and the Endon and Saxby brands of subsidiary Poole Lighting, has now put in place a comprehensive compliance program to ensure that its employees comply at all times with competition law.

The company has now appointed a competition compliance officer at Poole Lighting, Paul Mansfield.

The boards of both the NLC and Poole Lighting ‘will ensure that they monitor Poole’s adherence to the competition compliance program and that it is addressed at regular NLC and Poole Board meetings’.

In a separate development, Poole Lighting is recalling a series of recessed LED downlights sold as white-label products to trade supplier Screwfix due to safety concerns. See the full story HERE.

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