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European Commission fines Mondelēz €337.5m for restricting cross-border trade
FoodBev Media

FoodBev Media

24 May 2024

European Commission fines Mondelēz €337.5m for restricting cross-border trade

Mondelēz has been fined €337.5 million by the European Commission for violating EU competition rules. The Commission's investigation found that Mondelēz engaged in anti-competitive behaviour aimed at restricting cross-border trade of chocolate, biscuits and coffee products and by abusing its 'dominant position' in specific national markets for the sale of chocolate tablets. From 2012 to 2019, Mondelēz engaged in 22 anti-competitive agreements or concerted practices, limiting territories or customers for seven wholesalers and requiring higher export prices in one agreement. Additionally, from 2006 to 2020, Mondelēz prevented ten exclusive distributors from fulfilling orders from other Member States without permission. Between 2015 and 2019, Mondelēz abused its 'dominant position' by refusing to supply a broker in Germany to prevent resale in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria and Romania, and by stopping chocolate tablet supplies in the Netherlands to prevent imports into Belgium. These actions prevented retailers from sourcing products from lower-priced Member States, artificially partitioning the market and maintaining higher prices in certain countries, ultimately disadvantaging EU consumers. The fine was determined based on the Commission's 2006 Guidelines on fines. When deciding the fine amount, the Commission considered the 'gravity and duration' of the violations, as well as the revenue generated from Mondelēz's sales related to these violations. Furthermore, in light of Mondelēz's cooperation during the investigation and its admission of guilt regarding the breach of EU competition rules, it received a 15% reduction in the fine. Following this approach, the Commission imposed a fine of €337.5 million on the company. A spokesperson for Mondelēz's told FoodBev: "Mondelēz confirms it has reached a settlement with the European Commission concluding its investigation in relation to cross-border trade of products, formally launched in 2021. The decision relates 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 products. This accounts for a very limited part of Mondelēz's European business." "This historical matter is not representative of who we are and the strong culture of compliance for which we strive. At Mondelēz International, we place the strongest emphasis on integrity and respect for the laws of the countries in which we operate. We are firmly committed to the highest compliance standards, and we take the responsibility we have for our colleagues, customers, distributors and consumers very seriously. This is why we will continue to place emphasis on our overall compliance culture and have strengthened our annual mandatory compliance program to reflect learnings."

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