Yuhan-Kimberly Ltd., a manufacturer of sanitary products in South Korea, has been cleared of suspicion that it used market dominance to raise the price of its sanitary pads, the country’s antitrust watchdog said on Wednesday.
The Korea Fair Trade Commission (FTC) investigated Yuhan-Kimberly on any monopolistic abuses and concluded that its increases in the retail prices of sanitary pads did not violate the country’s fair trade law.
The antitrust agency studied the price tags of 127 women’s essential products sold by Yuhan-Kimberly from January 2010 to August 2018 upon identifying its dominant market share of 46.6 percent .
Over the eight years, the company pushed up prices higher than it normally does with new products. Of 140 price hikes, 38 were made on existing labels. Price gain averaged 3.9 percent with maximum 7.1 percent.
The remaining 102 hikes were made on new or renewal products - with an average increase rate of 8.4 percent and the highest 77.9 percent.
Study showed that Yuhan-Kimberly raised the price of its sanitary pads by 20 percent or more on five occasions during the cited period.
The FTC, however, judged that the price increase reflected higher costs in materials and manufacturing. Supply price rose 19.7 percent last year from 2010 and the purchase unit price rose 12.1 percent. Materials cost rose 12 percent and manufacturing cost 25.8 percent.
The FTC can regulate a producer when deemed retail prices changes are extraordinary against market and cost conditions.
The FTC also discovered that Koreans sanitary napkins bore higher price tags than products sold in the United States, Japan, China, France, and the United Kingdom, but actually sell cheaper as they are mostly sold at discounts.
By Seok Min-soo and Lee Eun-joo
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]