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German beer giants accused of price-fixing
Photo: DPA

German beer giants accused of price-fixing

Published: 23 Mar 2013 10:37 GMT+01:00
Updated: 23 Mar 2013 10:37 GMT+01:00

Competition regulators are investigating more than a dozen large German breweries suspected of illegally fixing prices on popular beers such as Jever, Becks, Warsteiner and Erdinger, it emerged over the weekend.

German breweries could face hundreds of millions in fines if found guilty of illegal price-fixing, in what is said to be the biggest-ever cartel investigation of the industry, wrote Focus magazine on Friday.

A probe by the Federal Cartel Office into the German beer giants, which together account for half of the German beer industry market share, is already in its final stages, a spokesman said on Friday.

Among those under investigation by are Warsteiner, Krombacher, Carlsberg, Erdinger, Bitburger, Becks manufacturer AB-Inbev, and Oetker, which makes Radeberger and Jever.

A spokesman for Warsteiner confirmed authorities were looking into “whether or not our company was possibly engaged in horizontal price fixing agreements,” but said the brewery had not been told any initial results of the inquiry.

Bitburger also said it was being investigated under "suspicion of a contravention of competition law," while Radeberger, Carlsberg, AB-Inbev und Erdinger refused to comment on the inquiry.

The inquiry, which should be completed by the summer, is the latest in a series of high-profile price-fixing scandals uncovered by Germany's anti-cartel authority in recent years.

DAPD/The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:43 March 23, 2013 by Eric1
At least one doesn't have to buy beer, one has to fear the biggest "cartel" of them all, the government. They can send you to prison and take your property if you don't pay them what they ask.
12:51 March 23, 2013 by Englishted
Eric do they drink beer at tea party meetings?
13:23 March 23, 2013 by Bigfoot76
Most of the brewers listed are not that interesting particularly Becks.
13:52 March 23, 2013 by catjones
Oh my, I do declare, bring me my salts. I feel a fainting spell coming on. Price fixing in germany? Never!
15:13 March 23, 2013 by The-ex-pat
I buy beer when I want to, but I buy petrol because I have too. Yet again the powers to be answer that they are monitoring the situation as the price of fuel goes up in time (as what is now normal) for the school holidays. Priorities are as usual "§$%&§# UP!!!
16:16 March 23, 2013 by Dalmation
Drink Sternburg. Less than half the price of the premium beers and beats them in the Pepsi Challenge every time.
17:13 March 23, 2013 by The-ex-pat
The Aldi six pack of beer in a plastic 500ml bottles, Belgium I think. €1.69 for three litres in total and it is not bad.......
20:31 March 23, 2013 by DavyCrockett
The german beer producers are pretty smart. In Bavaria at least they've convinced the locals that good beer can only come in glass bottles - my german wife won't let me drink my preferred low-cost Aldi Pilsner plastic-bottle beer with guests. Since most cheap beer comes in cans or plastic bottles, they've eliminated much of the competition in one stroke - great marketing!
23:31 March 23, 2013 by rwk
They're all in violation of the Reinheitsgebot anyhow, as they are charging more than two pfennigs for a Mass of beer (about one litre).
11:29 March 24, 2013 by raandy
The store I shop at has weekly specials , a case of 500ml bottles, of premium beer is 10 euros, thats 50 cents a bottle, a good price. When I return to the US for visits a 6 pack of 16 oz, PBR cost me around 6 dollars, or a dollar each. I find the price of beer here a good deal. Hopefully this investigation will improve this a little more.
17:22 March 24, 2013 by tangledeuro
I have no issues with a price hike if they can deliver it to my door with a hiked price......hiccchhh....hicchhhh....don't take me serious i had enough by the time i commented it....hichhhh..hicccchhhh..!!
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