The Federal Cartel Office in Germany has completed their investigation into the possible price-fixing done by at least five breweries in the country, and found the companies guilty of working together to raise prices between 2006 and 2008.
Bitburger, Krombacher, Warsteiner, Veltins, and Barre, as well as seven people associated with the breweries, are facing 106.5 million euros ($145.5 million) in fines. These five companies could have faced even higher fines, but since they cooperated with the investigation, the penalty was reduced. Anheuser-Busch InBev was also found guilty of participating in the price-fixing, but will not face any fines since the company was first to report the activity, leading to the investigation.
Andreas Mundt, president of the German Cartel Office, issued a statement saying that the “price increases agreed for draft beer in 2006 and 2008 were in the range of 5 to 7 euros per hectoliter… For bottled beer a price increase was discussed in 2008 that should’ve led to an increase of 1 euro in the price of the 20-bottle case.”
When news of the investigation first began to surface in April of last year, it was believed that more than a dozen German breweries were being investigated. The Federal Cartel Office is still investigating several other breweries as well as North Rhine-Westfalia’s regional brewery association to see if they had any connections to the price-fixing scheme.