German brewers fined €100m

Five German breweries have been fined more than €100m for fixing beer prices.

beer foamThe Federal Cartel Office of Germany said on Monday that the companies involved fixed price increases for draft and bottled beer between 2006 and 2008.

Bitburger, Krombacher, Veltins, Warsteiner and Barre, along with seven people personally involved in illegal price fixing, have been fined a total of €106.5m.

An investigation was launched after information was received from the German branch of Anheuser-Busch Inbev SA, which wasn’t fined as a result of its co-operation.

Investigations are ongoing at two further brewery groups and four regional breweries in North Rhine-Westphalia which have so far not been named.

Andreas Mundt, President of the Federal Cartel Office, said: “As a result of our investigations we were able to prove the existence of price-fixing agreements between breweries; most of which were based purely on personal and telephone contacts.

“The price increases of five to seven euros per hectolitre for draught beer in 2006 and 2008 were agreed on this basis.

“In 2008 a price increase was agreed for bottled beer with the intention of making the 20 bottle crates one euro more expensive”.

Each of the breweries could still appeal against their fines at the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court.

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