Hygiene Austria: Fines for Lenzing and Palmers

Hygiene Austria: Fines for Lenzing and Palmers
In March 2021, the mask scandal involving Hygiene Austria was exposed.

The reason: The merger took place before the Hygiene Austria foundation was registered, writes the BWB on Tuesday. The authorities are requesting a fine of 75,000 euros against Lenzing, while an “appropriate fine” is being requested against Palmers.

  • also read: FFP2 mask manufacturer Hygiene Austria is insolvent

According to BWB, Palmers and Lenzing announced the formation of the joint venture on May 12, 2020. This was released on May 26, 2020 due to a lack of competition concerns. However, through a parliamentary question, the authority became aware that the merger had probably already been completed before the BWB had registered and completed its examination. The companies had already appeared in the media and publicly as if the merger had already taken place.

“In the case of Hygiene Austria, the initial market appearance and consequently the implementation of the merger project can be assumed at least at the time of the APA press release of April 24, 2020, since market structure changes were possible from this point onwards at the latest. This meant that competitors or customers were able to gain knowledge of this and their respective market behavior adapt to these new circumstances,” writes the BWB.

Palmers denies this fact

Palmers denies this fact, but Lenzing does not. Lenzing’s cooperation with the BWB was taken into account as a mitigating circumstance, and the BWB is therefore requesting a fine of 75,000 euros for the company. For Palmers, however, an “appropriate fine” was requested from the cartel court.

Hygiene Austria was founded in spring 2020 by Palmers and Lenzing as a joint venture to produce mouth and nose protection (MNS) and FFP2 protective masks. Palmers is now the sole owner of the company, which filed for bankruptcy in January 2024. In 2021 and 2022, the FFP2 mask scandal shook the company. Hygiene Austria presented itself to the outside world as a company with products “made in Austria” and received extensive government contracts. However, it later became known that some masks from China were being sold.

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