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AB InBev fined €200m over high Belgian beer prices
Belgians have been paying too much for their Jupiler - prompting a €200 million fine for brewer AB InBev from the European Commission.
The world's biggest brewer, which is based in Leuven, was found to have abused its dominant position in the Belgian beer market.
Its best-selling beer brand, Jupiler, is less expensive to buy in the Netherlands, but the European Commission found AB InBev had tried to prevent imports from the Netherlands into Belgium.
The brewer did this by modifying the packaging in the Netherlands to make it more difficult to sell in Belgium, in particular by removing the French version of the product information.
"Consumers in Belgium have paid more for their favourite beer because of AB InBev's deliberate strategy to limit cross-border sales between the Netherlands and Belgium," competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.
The EU fine will be reduced by 15% because AB InBev had fully cooperated with the Commission's investigation and had acknowledged wrongdoing.
Consumer protection watchdog Test-Achats welcomed the fine. It wants AB InBev to pay compensation to consumers "who have paid too much for their beer for more than seven years".
Belgian trade federation Comeos said other cases could follow. It said there were "other international brand products that Belgian traders cannot buy from countries where they are cheaper".