BRUSSELS — The European Fee on Jan. 28 introduced it has opened a proper antitrust investigation into Chicago-based Mondelez Worldwide, Inc. for potential cross-border commerce restrictions on chocolate, biscuits and occasional merchandise.
“Candies, biscuits and occasional are merchandise consumed by European residents each day,” stated Margrethe Vestager, govt vice chairman in command of competitors coverage on the EC. “We’re opening a proper investigation to see whether or not Mondelez, a key producer of those merchandise, may need restricted free competitors within the markets involved by implementing numerous practices hindering commerce flows, in the end resulting in increased costs for shoppers. Commerce within the inner market can decrease costs and improve the number of merchandise supplied throughout member states. ”
In its Jan. 28 discover, the EC indicated that the marketplace for chocolate, biscuits and occasional within the EU is price “tens of billions of euros yearly.” Concern has arisen that Mondelez might have restricted the so-called “parallel commerce” of its sweets, biscuits and occasional between EU member states by agreements and unilateral practices.
Particularly, the EC stated merchants and retailers attempt to procure merchandise within the inner market the place the costs are decrease and commerce them to markets the place costs are increased, a observe which will result in value decreases in international locations the place costs are increased.
Within the case of Mondelez, the EC stated it should examine sure probably anti-competitive practices by Mondelez, together with:
- Doable limitations of the gross sales territories inside the EU by agreements that decide by which member state a dealer can or can not promote the merchandise, or that limit passive gross sales;
- Doable curbing of parallel commerce by agreements that increase costs or restrict volumes particularly for patrons that commerce the merchandise throughout member states;
- Doable agreements with prospects to not have interaction in parallel commerce or to not procure merchandise from parallel commerce, inter alia, in trade for funds or different types of compensation;
- Doable restrictions on the languages used on packaging both unilaterally or by agreements with merchants, thereby creating friction on gross sales to sure different EU member states;
- Presumably refusing to provide sure merchants with a view to limiting imports into sure markets.
The EC stated that if violations are confirmed, Mondelez can be in breach of EU antitrust guidelines.
There isn’t a authorized deadline for bringing an antitrust investigation to an finish. The period of an investigation is dependent upon numerous components, together with the complexity of the case, the cooperation of the endeavor with the Fee and the train of the rights of protection.
Mondelez has stated that it “will work constructively with the European Fee because it conducts its overview.”