French competition authority raids wine and spirits companies

The French competition watchdog, l’Autorité de la Concurrence, has stated that it has carried out a number of raids and seizures of goods from companies in the wine and spirits sector.

In a statement on its website, the French watchdog said it had carried out the raids on Tuesday 9 April at a number of companies suspected of anti-competitive practices.

It added that at this stage of its investigation, it would not be naming the companies involved, nor what they had been accused of. It stressed that the companies that were raided were innocent until proven guilty.

Despite this, however, Marie Brizard sent out a statement to confirm that it had “supplied all of the information in its possession” to the French anti-trust authority. It added that it would be prepared to supply further information if required, and that it intended to cooperate fully with the investigation.

As reported by Reuters, Pernod Ricard said it had not been targeted in the raids. LVMH, Rémy Cointreau and La Martiniquaise have not responded to requests for comment from the press.

Marie Brizard, which has been struggling financially, reported operating losses of -€72.7 million in 2017 while, in the first six months of 2018, it saw its profit fall to €48.6m, a 25.9% decrease compared to the same period in 2017.

In January it reported that its largest shareholder, Compagnie Financière Européenne de Prises de Participation (COFEPP), was to raise its stake to 47% and offer a bridging loan in a bid to resolve some of its financial woes.

Its brands include William Peel Scotch whisky, Sobieski vodka, Krupnik vodka, Fruits and Wine flavoured wine, Marie Brizard liqueurs and Cognac Gautier.

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