Five German Brewers Fined €106m For Price-Fixing
Published on Jan 20 2014 1:57 PM in Drinks
Five major breweries in Germany have been have been hit with a hefty €106.5 million fine by German competition authorities
The breweries, which are household names in Germany; Bitburger, Krombacher, Veltins, Warsteiner and Barre, were all penalised, as well as seven people who were found personally responsible.
Germany's federal cartel office revealed that between 2006 and 2008 managers from Bitburger, Krombacher, Veltins, Warsteiner and Anheuser-Busch held talks in person and over the phone in order to fix the prices of their products.
The talks resulted in a Germany-wide rise of €5-€7 per hundred litres for barrelled beer, and €1 per crate of bottled beer, according to the cartel office head, Andreas Mundt.
The Belgian-Brazilian multinational Anheuser-Busch InBev, which manufactures Beck's beer, is to be exempted from the fine after agreeing to act as a key witness in the case.
Danish brewer Carlsberg is still being investigated by the cartel authority and could potentially face an even larger fine.
A spokesman for Carlsberg told the Financial Times it had been contacted by the authorities and said it took the matter “very seriously”.
The office says six other brewers are still under investigation and also warned that further fines are likely, with four regional breweries in Germany’s most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia as well as two other brewery groups still being investigated.
© 2014 - European Supermarket Magazine by Enda Dowling