Greece: Heineken fined £25m for 15-year abuse of market

The filing follows a 12-year investigation by the Hellenic Competition Commission into the actions of Athenian Brewery – a subsidiary of Heineken – which eventually found the company in breach of Greek and EU competition law.

In a statement released on 1 December, the HCC said Heineken’s Athenian Brewery had “abused its dominant position” infringing on the Competition Act and 102 EU Treaty by implementing a “single and targeted policy that sought to exclude its competitors from the on-trade consumption market and to limit their growth possibilities, over a period of fifteen years”.

It said the company had achieved this by using exclusivity agreements to force publicans to stock Heineken brands, and by offering wholesalers “significant economic motives” to promote exclusivity and refrain from introducing competing products.

Heineken, whose brands include Amstel, Fosters and Birra Moretti, has already been handed a €31.5 million fine by the HCC, which it has said it will appeal.

In a statement, Athenian Brewery branded the ruling “unfair” and said it “categorically denies the commission’s claims”.

Now the Macedonian Thrace Brewery has lodged a separate lawsuit, in light of the HCC ruling, seeking damages in excess of €100 million before the Court of Amsterdam.

“Greek authorities revealed the full extent and intensity of the illegal anti-competitive abuse of Heineken through its Greek operating company,” said Demetri Politopoulos, MTB’s founder and CEO.

Full Content: The Drinks Business

Want more news? Subscribe to CPI’s free daily newsletter for more headlines and updates on antitrust developments around the world.