Zenith CC&P Current Awareness

European Commission fines AB InBev for abuse of dominance

14 May 2019

Prof. Suzanne Rab

Zenith's Suzanne Rab writes:

The European Commission has fined Anheuser-Busch InBev SA (AB InBev) EUR200 million for unlawfully restricting cheaper imports of its Jupiler beer into Belgium.

The Commission found that AB InBev pursued a strategy of restricting wholesalers and grocers from accessing cheaper products and that the objective of this strategy was to maintain higher prices in Belgium by limiting imports of cheaper products from the Netherlands.  This strategy was implemented by restricting access to discounts, changing product packaging and limiting volumes.

The penalty reflects a reduction of 15% due to AB InBev’s cooperation with the Commission’s investigation and admission of the violation.  AB InBev has also committed to ensure that its product packaging for products in Belgium, France and the Netherlands will include mandatory information in Dutch and French for the next five years to ensure cross-border supplies.

While it is legitimate, even for a dominant company, to label products for a specific country it appears that in this case the Commission found evidence that the strategy was designed to limit parallel imports.

Commission press release IP/19/2488

For more information, please contact: clerks@zenithchambers.co.uk

Current Awareness

By the CC&P team