BWB requests fine against Brau Union for abuse of market power

The Federal Competition Authority (BWB) calls for the imposition of a “appropriate fine” against the Brew Union.

The background to this is the fact that the competition authorities have Violations of the prohibition of abuse and cartels, as the BWB announced on Tuesday. From the BWB’s point of view, Brau Union abused its dominant market position to restrict the market entry of competing beer producers and to force existing beverage retailers out of the market.

The application to the Cartel Court for the imposition of a fine was preceded by extensive investigations which raised suspicions of “a series of unacceptable behaviours” have been confirmed, according to the BWB.

From October 2021, more anonymous complaints about the conduct of Brau Union, in April 2022 there was a search of the headquarters in Linz. The cartel court can impose fines of up to 10 percent of the group’s turnover from the previous year. According to the “WirtschaftsCompass”, Brau Union achieved a turnover of 850.6 million euros in 2022.

The specific allegations

Specifically, Brau Union is said to have exploited its dominant market position and Beverage customers threatened have, them no longer sell beer unless they also purchase other beverages from Brau UnionIn addition, Brau Union is said to have obliged customers to no drinks from other competitors in the product range or to cover the majority of the product range via Brau Union.

It should also Market and customer breakdown However, some of these have already been remedied. The BWB also accuses the company of competitively sensitive data exchanged to monitor the market and the market entry of competing companies.

Dominant position

In the past, there had been repeated criticism of Brau Union’s market power, especially from competing independent Austrian breweries such as Stiegl and Ottakringer. Due to the price war during the corona pandemic, Brau Union’s market share has increased from around 50 percent. The Austrian market leader unites, among others, the beer brands Gösser, Zipfer, Kaiser, Puntigamer, Schwechater, Wieselburger, Schladminger and Edelweiss under his roof.

Brau Union was formed in 1998 through the merger of Österreichische Brau AG and Steirerbrau. Since 2003, the company, with 2,700 employees, 15 beer brands and nine breweries, has belonged to Heineken, the second largest beer group in the world.

By Editor

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