The investigations unit of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has concluded that Anheuser-Busch InBev, Carlsberg, and United Breweries colluded to fix beer prices, two people with direct knowledge said.
The CCI launched the investigation after AB InBev told the watchdog it had detected an industry cartel, leading in 2018 to dawn raids at the three brewers’ offices to collect evidence.
The investigation has found that 15-20 executives from the three brewers were involved in discussions of beer prices before they were submitted to the regulators, thereby violating antitrust laws, said the two sources, who declined to be named as the report is not public.
“The evidence seized by the CCI during searches last year was enough to nail the culprits,” said one of the sources.
AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer, whose Indian offerings include Budweiser and Corona, stated it would not be appropriate to comment at this time, but stated it takes antitrust compliance “very seriously.”
Carlsberg, which sells beer under its own-name brand and also owns Tuborg, declined to comment on Friday, October 25, but had previously stated said it was “committed to complying” with all relevant laws.
United Breweries, which is part-owned by Heineken and known for its Kingfisher brand, stated it was “given to understand” the investigation report had been submitted to the CCI, and would present its case during the Commission’s hearing.
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