EU opens probe into allegations of price-fixing by the Oreo maker

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Mondelez is suspected of allegedly using contracts to ban traders from making its products (like Oreo cookies) available to other countries at potentially cheaper prices. Pic: Mondelez
Mondelez is suspected of allegedly using contracts to ban traders from making its products (like Oreo cookies) available to other countries at potentially cheaper prices. Pic: Mondelez

Related tags: Mondelez International, European commission, antitrust, Oreos

Regulators in Brussels have opened a formal antitrust investigation to find out if Mondelez International has restricted competition by hindering the cross-border trade of its products in the EU.

In a statement, the European Commission said it was concerned the Chicago-based snack maker may have entered into agreements with traders that prohibited them from selling certain Mondelēz products in other EU Member States.

It is also investing possible restrictions on languages used on packaging.

This would have created scarcity, which in turn would lead to higher prices for customers across the bloc.

Mondelez is one of the largest producers of chocolate, biscuits and coffee in the world, clocking up $25.9bn in sales worldwide in 2019.

“Chocolates, biscuits and coffee are products consumed by European citizens daily. We are opening a formal investigation to see whether Mondelez, a key producer of these products, might have restricted free competition in the markets concerned by implementing various practices hindering trade flows, ultimately leading to higher prices for consumers,”​ said Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s executive VP for competition.

If found guilty, Mondelez would be in breach of EU antitrust rules. According to Dutch news service RTL Nieuws, a possible fine for violating competition rules can amount to up to 10% of turnover, which could mean a maximum fine of around €2.5bn for Mondelez.

The suspicions led investigators to carry out a series of raids of the global giant’s offices across Europe in November 2019.

Mondelez released a statement stating it will work constructively with the European Commission as it conducts its review.

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