Michael Pascoe

Amcor’s board obviously believed it was doing the right thing by sticking up its hand and telling the ACCC when it discovered the company had been involved in a cardboard box cartel with Dick Pratt’s Visy.

The ACCC deal with cartel whistleblowers is that the first to fess up gets off lightly. But Amcor’s customers and ambulance chasing lawyers aren’t party to that agreement.

As The Smage reports, Amcor customers launched a $300 million class action in Federal Court yesterday. Lawyers Maurice Blackburn Cashman reckon they could drum up as many as 17,000 businesses as their clients for this one. That’s a lot of cardboard boxes.

But as Michael Pelly reports, Amcor has already been negotiating lower prices as compensation for major customers. The sweet thing for the claimants is that Amcor has already admitted the offence – they don’t have to prove a thing.

What’s more interesting to speculate on what might be waiting for Visy if it loses the case against it being brought by the ACCC. On top of any fines, one might well assume there would be another class action awaiting with less chance of some face-saving compensation deals before hand.

The thing about a cartel is that no matter how talented and devious one company’s management might be, it can’t quite do it by itself.