GERMANY: Carlsberg and five smaller German brewers found guilty in price-fixing probe

Germany’s Federal Cartel Office (FCO) has handed out another EUR231.2m (US$318.9m) of fines to six more brewers in the country over alleged price fixing. In a statement on 2 Apri, the authority named the brewers found guilty of "illegal price fixing agreements" as Carlsberg, Radeberger, Bolten, Erzquell, Buffet and Gaff. The Association of Rhine-Westphalian Breweries and seven individuals were also fined.

The case relates to an alleged cartel that was being run in Germany’s beer sector between 2006 and 2008. Five other brewers - Bitburger, Krombacher, Veltins, Warsteiner and Barre - were given fines, totalling EU106.5m, in January.

In the latest decision, the FCO said the “majority” of the fine will be paid by Radeberger and Carlsberg. The Danish brewer revealed its fine is EUR62m.

Andreas Mundt, the FCO’s president said: “The manufacturers are concerned for more than half of the beer sold in Germany. Industry turnover is well over EUR7bn per year. In view of these sales, the high fines are appropriate and necessary in order to achieve an effective punishment.”

Carlsberg said it will appeal the decision. In a statement, the company said: “We do not agree with the conclusions or findings by the Federal Cartel Office and Carlsberg Deutschland will accordingly appeal the decision to the relevant German Court.”

The initial investigation was triggered by an “application for leniency” filed by Anheuser-Busch InBev's German unit. As a result, A-B InBev has not been fined.

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