Carlsberg to Radeberger Fined in German Beer Price-Fixing Probe

Carlsberg A/S’s German unit was among six brewers and seven people fined 231.2 million euros ($319 million) for participating in a price-fixing ring that affected half of the country’s beer drinkers.

Dr. August Oetker KG’s Radeberger unit and Carlsberg were fined the largest amount, according to the German Cartel Office, which didn’t release the full penalties.

It’s the second round of fines levied this year by Germany’s antitrust regulator in its investigation of the brewery industry. It penalized five beermakers and seven people 106.5 million euros in January.

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the world’s largest brewer, escaped a fine for being first to report the cartel, which triggered the investigation, the German regulator said. Revenue in the industry is more than 7 billion euros per year.

“The companies concerned represent more than half of the beer sold in Germany,” Andreas Mundt, president of the German cartel office, said in the statement. “Given the turnover, the high fines are appropriate and necessary to get an effective punishment.”

The other companies fined today also include Privat-Brauerei Bolten GmbH & Co. KG, Erzquell Brauerei Bielstein Haas & Co. KG, Coelner Hofbraeu P. Josef Frueh KG and Privat-Brauerei Gaffel Becker & Co. OHG. Brauereiverband NRW, an association of brewers, was also fined.

Carlsberg Deutschland and Gaffel Becker said they would appeal. The other companies didn’t immediately respond to calls seeking comment.

They add to fines levied by the cartel office Jan. 13 on Krombacher Brauerei GmbH, Bitburger Braugruppe GmbH, C. & A. Veltins GmbH & Co. KG, Warsteiner Brauerei Haus Cramer KG and Privatbrauerei Ernst Barre GmbH.

Today’s fines complete the watchdog’s probe, it said in an e-mailed statement.

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