CCI imposed fine on UB, Carlsberg, and others

The Competition Commission on Friday imposed penalties totalling over Rs 873 crore on United Breweries, Carlsberg India, All India Brewers’ Association (AIBA) and 11 individuals for cartelisation in the sale and supply of beer.

In its 231-page order, which comes nearly four years after ordering a detailed probe, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has also directed the companies, association and individuals to “cease and desist” from anti-competitive practices in the future.

The final order has been passed against United Breweries (UBL), SABMiller India, now renamed as Anheuser Busch InBev India (AB InBev), and Carlsberg India (CIPL), among other entities.

The regulator did not impose any fine on Ab InBev, while lesser penalties have been slapped on others.

A release said the companies and other entities have been found to be “indulging in cartelisation in the sale and supply of beer in various States and Union Territories in India, including through the platform of All India Brewers’ Association (AIBA)”. As AIBA was found to be actively involved in facilitating such cartelisation, CCI has also held it to be contravening the competition law.

“Giving benefit of reduction in penalty 100 per cent to AB InBev and its individuals, 40 per cent to UBL and its individuals and 20 per cent to CIPL and its individuals.”

The fines on UBL and Carlsberg India are nearly Rs 752 crore and Rs 121 crore, respectively. A fine of over Rs 6.25 lakh has been imposed on AIBA and various individuals have been fined. The period of cartelisation was considered to be from 2009 to at least October 10, 2018, with CIPL joining in from 2012 and AIBA serving as a platform for facilitating such cartelisation since 2013.

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