The European Commission gave the Belgian beer giant AB InBev a fine of just over 200 million euros for abusing its dominant position on the Belgian beer market. The European Commission started to investigate AB InBev, the largest beer brewer in the world, in 2016, to determine whether it had abused its dominant position on the Belgian beer market. Specifically, the company would have stopped imports of its own beers from the Netherlands and France into Belgium. Belgian brands Jupiler and Leffe are cheaper there because they have more competition.
AB InBev would have removed the French text on the beer cans in the Netherlands, and the Dutch text in France, to avoid the same cans being sold in Wallonia and Flanders respectively.
“Belgian consumers had to pay more for their favourite beer because AB InBev used a conscious strategy to limit cross-border sales between the Netherlands and Belgium,” said European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager, according to Het Nieuwsblad.
“Attempts by dominant companies to split up the internal market to maintain high prices are prohibited, so we have imposed a fine of € 200 million on AB InBev for violating our antitrust rules,” she added.