The Competition Authority announced, on Wednesday, that it had imposed a fine of 92.8 million euros, in total, on five companies and two people, for the entities and individuals concerned “who participated in the scheme of the price agreement for sale to the public (PVP), at the expense of consumers.”
tracking fine Memorandum of illegality adopted by the Commission in March 2019The candidates were then given an opportunity “to exercise their right to be heard and defended, which was duly considered in the final decision.” The AdC investigation found that “the practice lasted for more than 12 years, between 2003 and 2016, and targeted several Super Bock products, including Super Bock, Carlsberg, Cristal and Cheers, Vitalis and Água das Pedras Water, as well as water Somersby.”
according to Call issued today By the Competition Authority (AdC), it is Super Bock Bebidas, of the SuperBock Group, formerly known as Unicer, which has the highest fine: €33.29 million.
The company, Modelo Continente Hipermercados (from the Sonae Group, which also owns PÚBLICO), has a €27.28 million charge.
€20.36 million was raised from Jerónimo Martins Group’s Pingo Doce series.
Other sanctioned distributors, Auchan (which has operated in Portugal for many years under the Jumbo and Pão de Açúcar brands), and ITMP Alimentar (known as the independent franchise network Intermarché), the fines are less heavy: 3.46 million and 8.26 million euros, respectively.
“This decision,” it explains in a statement to AdC, “relates to the supermarkets Modelo Continente, Pingo Doce, Auchan and Intermarché, which are individual directors of Modelo Continente and joint supplier Super Bock,” after the authority concluded “that through The connection created through the shared supplier, without the need to communicate directly with each other, ensured the participating companies matched the PVPs in their supermarkets, in a conspiracy equivalent to a cartel.”
A practice that emphasizes AdC, “eliminates competition, deprives consumers of the option of obtaining better prices, and ensures better levels of profitability for the entire distribution chain, including suppliers and supermarket chains.”
In addition to the fine, AdC “imposed an immediate cessation of the practice,” which has now been penalized, even because “it cannot be ruled out that the conduct investigated is still ongoing,” the entity that regulates the competitive practices of the Portuguese market admits.
Super Book will resume
In reaction after AdC’s decision was known, the beverage maker Super Bock issued a statement about the wording, saying it would “appeal the decision to the Competition, Regulation and Supervision Court.” The Denmark-controlled Carlsberg Group “denies this Wednesday’s ruling” by AdC, “which comes”, and defends the company “from an accusation the company deems unfounded”.
“SBB [Super Bock Bebidas] It will use all legal means available to it to defend its reputation, values and integrity,” asserts the brewery management, “on behalf of 1,200 workers, the wealth it creates for the country, and the development and innovation it brings to serving suppliers, customers and consumers.”
Sonae “totally rejects” the “unlawful” practice
Sonae group also released a file release, this time to the market through CMVM, informing investors of a €27.48 million fine imposed by AdC on its subsidiary Modelo Continente Hipermercados SA.
The group “categorically rejects the involvement of” the subsidiary “in any illegal practice harmful to consumers” and says that “these accusations will be vigorously challenged in the courts.” The management of the distribution group also asserts that it will “use all means at its disposal to defend it and restore justice.”
Updated at 20:40 with comments from Super Bock and Sonae مجموعة
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