4 Companies Accused of Price-Fixing Key Ingredient of White Paint

Friday, November 29, 2013
Valspar Polar White paint (photo: Lowe's)

Paint manufacturer Valspar is suing four of its competitors, including DuPont, claiming they conspired to fix prices on a chemical used in white paint and other products.


DuPont, along with Huntsman International, Kronos Worldwide and Millennium Inorganic Chemicals allegedly worked together to set the price of titanium dioxide, a key ingredient of white paint, paper, plastics and cosmetics.


“Defendants and other non-party co-conspirators intentionally conspired and agreed to manipulate, fix, raise, maintain, and stabilize the market and price at which Titanium Dioxide is sold in the United States,” Valspar lawyers wrote in their complaint.


The four companies control 90% of the titanium dioxide market in the country. Their alleged conspiracy to price-fix the chemical resulted in Valspar overpaying for it, the plaintiff says.


The lawsuit further states: “Defendants’ unlawful conspiracy was initiated, developed, and maintained by a course of anticompetitive conduct, including agreements, secret meetings and communication between and among defendants and their co-conspirators for the purpose of artificially inflating the price of titanium dioxide and allocating the United States marketplace. While in secret discussions, defendants exchanged commercially sensitive and proprietary information relating to the sales, production, supply, inventory, marketing and pricing of titanium dioxide, as well as the raw materials necessary to manufacture titanium dioxide itself.”


Valspar has asked for an injunction and penalties for restraint of trade, price-fixing and unjust enrichment.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

'A Price-Fixing Cartel Waiting to Happen' (Courthouse News Service)


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