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Appliance kickbacks under investigation

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Appliance kickbacks under investigation
Photo: DPA
11:09 CEST+02:00
Two of Germany's biggest appliance makers, Bosch and Siemens, may have provided illegal kickbacks to retailers willing to push their goods to customers, according to a report in the latest issue of Der Spiegel.

The allegations concern BSH, a joint venture between the German industrial giants, that sells household appliances such as washing machines, refrigerators and ranges. Last year, Munich-based BSH had 39,000 employees and revenues of €8.8 billion.

According to internal documents cited by Spiegel, BSH gave sales staff, including managers at large appliance retailers gift certificates good at retailer Karstadt or with travel agents TUI in exchange for pushing Bosch and Siemens products to customers.

The magazine says BSH spent more than €10 million a year on kickbacks and that the company's top management, including CEO Kurt-Ludwig Gutberlet, was aware of the illegal practice.

The company confirmed Friday evening that Munich prosecutors were investigating its past marketing practices. A statement also said “possible unfair sales promotions practices from the past,” would be looked into by BSH's internal compliance unit.

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