German beer brewers fined for price manipulating

( ) Updated: 2014-01-20 15:19:57

German anti-trust authority fined five beer brewers for their price manipulation on Monday, warning that investigation were still ongoing against more brewers.

A total of 106.5 million euros (about 145.35 million U.S. dollars) were fined against five German brewery companies including Bitburger, Krombacher, Veltins, Ernst Barre and Warsteiner, as well as seven individuals involved in the illegal price fixing agreement for beer, the German Federal Cartel Office announced in a statement.

According to the Bonn-based authority, the parties involved reached agreements to increase five to seven euros per hectolitre for draught beer in 2006 and 2008 and to raise price of 20 bottle crates by one euro in 2008.

"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," said Andreas Mundt, President of the Federal Cartel Office.

The office said the fine could be higher if those involved had not cooperated with the investigation, warning that investigations were still ongoing against two other brewery groups, as well as four regional breweries in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and their regional association for their involvement in price-fixing.

The investigation was triggered by whistle blow of Anheuser-Busch InBev Germany Holding GmbH, which was not fined for its cooperation, the authority said.

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