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Avery Dennison, UPM-Kymmene Involved In Price Fixing Investigation

Friday, May 23, 2003

Press release from the issuing company

CHICAGO--May 22, 2003-- Kenneth B. Moll & Associates, Ltd. announce that it is currently conducting an investigation into whether Avery Dennison Corp., Bemis Company, Inc., Morgan Adhesives Company (MACtac), Raflatac, Inc. and UPM-Kymmene Corp. raised, fixed and maintained the prices of self-adhesive labelstock from January 1, 1999 to the present. These companies are the largest producers in the self-adhesive labelstock market in the United States. Self- adhesive labelstock, which has also been named "pressure-sensitive adhesive labelstock," is a certain type of labeling used primarily by label printers. The labelstock products adhere to a surface by mere press-on contact. It is used to create labels for different products and uses such as price labels, product information labels, ticket labels, electronic data processing printing labels and promotional labels, among others. The self-adhesive labelstock products are produced primarily for distribution to printers, converters, paper merchants and distributors. On April 14, 2003, Avery announced that the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) had begun a criminal investigation into competitive prices in the labelstock industry and would shortly subpoena the Company in connection with that investigation. On April 15, 2003, Bemis announced that the DOJ expected to initiate a separate criminal investigation into competitive practices in the labelstock industry and Bemis expected to receive a subpoena in the investigation. On April 15, 2003, the DOJ filed a complaint in the Northern District of Illinois against UPM, alleging UPM and Avery were in "positions of marketplace dominance and had significant incentives to engage in explicit competitive coordination" and that evidence of competitive coordination was enhanced by a "longstanding strategic paper supply relationship" between UPM and Avery, which "provided UPM and Avery with the motivations, opportunities, and means to coordinate on price, monitor adherence, punish cheating, and engage in side payments that could be hidden in label paper transactions." Attorney Michael O'Meara states, "the purpose of this investigation is to inform purchasers of labelstock that they may have overpaid due to antitrust violations. We are seeking three times the financial loss for all companies that purchased labelstock."

 

 

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