EU hits Dairy Milk, Oreo maker Mondelez with €338 million antitrust fine


Friday, 24 May 2024 (10:22 IST)
The European Union has issued a €337.5 million ($366 million) fine to Mondelez, the US confectionary giant behind like likes of Toblerone, Oreo, Cadbury, and Milka, for anticompetitive behavior.
The EU's competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, accused Mondelez of "restricting the cross-border trade of chocolate, biscuits and coffee products within the European Union."
"This harmed consumers, who ended up paying more for chocolate, biscuits and coffee," she told reporters in Brussels.
"This case is about the price of groceries. It's a key concern to European citizens and even more obvious in times of very high inflation, where many are in a cost-of-living crisis."
Mondelez, formerly known as Kraft, is one of the world's largest producers of chocolate, biscuits, and coffee. It recorded revenue of €33 billion ($36 billion) last year.
What are the accusations against Mondelez?
The European Commission accused Mondelez of preventing traders from selling products between EU member states between 2015 and 2019, despite the bloc maintaining a single market intended to guarantee the free movement of goods.
It pointed to 22 examples where Mondelez was found to have engaged in anticompetitive agreements or concerted practices.
In one case, Mondelez was accused of withdrawing chocolate bars in the Netherlands to prevent their resale in Belgium where they were sold at higher prices.
Mondelez was also accused of refusing to supply a trader in Germany to prevent the resale of chocolate in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, and Romania, "where prices were higher."
What did Mondelez say?
The penalty announced on Thursday is the ninth-largest antitrust fine ever issued by the EU. But Mondelez said that "no further measures to finance the fine will be necessary."
The company also said the fine related to "historical, isolated incidents, most of which ceased or were remedied well in advance of the commission's investigation."
"Many of these incidents were related to business dealings with brokers, which are typically conducted via sporadic and often one-off sales and a limited number of small-scale distributors developing new business in EU markets in which Mondelez is not present or doesn't market the respective product," Mondelez in a statement.

Read on Webdunia

Related Article