The European Commission has fined brewing giant Heineken €219m for illegal price fixing between 1996 and 1999. Grolsch has been fined almost €32m and Bavaria €23m following the Commission’s seven year investigation.
Belgian brewer Inbev, which makes the Hertog Jan beer, had its €84m fine cancelled for aiding the Commission’s investigation.
Heineken’s fine is so high because of its market dominance.
Competition commissioner Neelie Kroes said the four companies had formed a ‘hardcore cartel’. ‘I am very disappointed that senior staff took part, even though they knew it was illegal,’ she said. ‘They tried to cover their tracks by using a code name.’
Bavaria and Grolsch have already said they intend to appeal. The four firms have always denied cartel-forming.
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