graphic
News > International
Heineken, Danone in beer probe
January 28, 2000: 10:42 a.m. ET

EU regulators suspect cartel, raid offices of main brewers in France
graphic
graphic graphic
graphic
LONDON (CNNfn) - European Commission officials have begun a probe of French food company Danone and Dutch brewer Heineken, citing suspicions they ran a price-fixing cartel in France's beer market, a EU spokesman said Friday.
    Michael Tscherny said officials searched the offices of Danone's Kronenbourg brewing unit in Strasbourg, France and the Paris offices of Danone [PSE:PBN] and Heineken Tuesday and Wednesday in the early stages of the EU's investigation. If a cartel is found to exist, the EU has the power to levy fines of as much as 10 percent of any accused company's annual revenue, he said.
    "We suspect a cartel," said Tscherny, emphasizing that the EU has not brought any formal charges. Combined, the two companies account for as much as 80 percent of the French beer market, he added.
    "If they have a cozy relationship about prices ... or how not to compete unnecessarily with each other, you can imagine the impact on consumers," Tscherny said.
    The investigation comes just months after the EU launched a similar investigation in Belgium into Danone's Maes brewing unit. Any fines by the EU would be the first of their kind in the beer industry, Tscherny said. Heineken spokesman Albert Holtzappel, who confirmed the probe, said his company has never been the subject of such an inquiry.
    "The Director General of the European Union has held an inquiry in the office of Heineken in France," Holtzappel said. "Apparently, this inquiry was aimed at the competition rules at the European level."
    "Heineken sticks to the laws wherever it operates in the world," including French laws and EU regulations, he added.
    Danone, which Thursday reported a stronger-than-expected 14 percent jump in profit in its latest quarter, did not immediately return calls seeking comment Friday afternoon Paris-time.
    Shares of Danone (PPBN), the maker of products such as Dannon yogurt, LU cookies and Lea & Perrins sauces, were little changed at 225.4 euros in Paris. In Amsterdam, Heineken shares fell 2.5 percent to 52.8 euros. Back to top

  RELATED STORIES

Danone posts tasty profit - Jan. 27 , 2000

  RELATED SITES

Danone

Heineken


Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNNmoney




graphic

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.