Carlsberg might face a fine up to EUR250 million in a cartel case stemming from suspected illegal price agreements in 2006 and 2007. At that time allegedly several breweries from the middle and north of Germany met on the sidelines of a trade fair and agreed on a price increase for beer.
After a voluntary declaration of AB InBev Germany the Federal Cartel Office had started the investigation in 2012 and imposed about a year later fines totaling EUR 338 million against eleven breweries, one association and 14 managers. Although most companies contested the allegations an agreement with most of the accused could be reached. Only three smaller breweries from the Cologne region as well as the two major brewing groups Carlsberg Germany and Radeberger Group did not accept their fines of €62 million and €160 respectively (inside.beer, 24.4.2018).
In June 2018, one day before the trial started, also Radeberger Group withdrew its appeal and accepted the fine leaving Carlsberg Germany and its former CEO Wolfgang Burgard as the only accused in this case (inside.beer, 13.6.2018). This could now negatively fall back on the company and its manager.
As the Lebensmittel Zeitung reported, the Attorney General made its closing statement on Wednesday and demanded before the Higher Regional Court in Düsseldorf an increase in the fine from EUR 62 million to EUR 250 million and an additional fine of EUR 300,000 for Burgard as personally responsible person.
The closing argument of the defense will follow next Wednesday and a final ruling is expected on March 20.