On Wednesday, Germany’s antitrust authority announced their latest set of fines against German beer companies that were found to have conspired on fixing prices for consumers, this time totaling 231.2 million euros ($319 million).
The new set of fines are the largest to date in this price-fixing case as in January, the Federal Cartel Office fined five top German breweries a total of 106.5 million euros. Despite being the larger and more profitable companies, the original five saw reduced fines due to their cooperation in the investigation from the start.
With this latest round of fines, six breweries are known to be included: Radeberger, the German unit of Denmark’s Carlsberg, Bolten, Erzquell, Frueh and Gaffel. While the full breakdown hasn’t been disclosed, it was made known that Radeberger and Carlsberg will be paying a majority of the $319 Million fine.
The regional breweries’ association in North Rhine-Westphalia and seven unidentified individuals are also included in the fines.
When asked about whether this new set of fines are a bit steep, the cartel office’s chairman, Andreas Mundt justified the amount saying that the “producers concerned stand for more than half of the beer sold in Germany… The industry’s sales are well over 7 billion euros per year. In view of these sales, the high fines are appropriate and necessary to impose an effective penalty.”