08 December 2023

German cartel office opens probe into Coca-Cola over pricing practices

Germany | The German Federal Cartel Office suspects Coca-Cola Europacific Partners of abusing its dominant position in the retail market to the detriment of other manufacturers. The largest bottler by revenue in Coke’s bottling system globally allegedly offered retailers better purchasing conditions if they included the full product range in their offerings, which may have hindered its competitors.

The cartel office said on 14 November, that it would look at whether Coca-Cola Europacific Partners had a dominant position and would therefore be subject to special competition rules. It would also look at whether the terms imposed by Coca-Cola on German food retailers, in particular its rebate structure, conformed to those rules.

The Coke bottler is cooperating fully with the authorities: “We are convinced that the proven business model of Coca-Cola Europacific Partners in Germany is legally consistent with a balanced price and condition concept. It is based on a fair principle of performance and compensation,” a spokesperson said.

Remember Edeka

In 2022, one of Germany’s leading retailers, Edeka, also accused the soft drink producer of abuse of power. When Edeka refused to stomach the bottler’s massive price hikes, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners stopped deliveries. Edeka dragged the bottler to court, which ordered the bottler to continue supplying Edeka. However, the court quickly overturned this judgement. Edeka appealed, but the Higher Regional Court saw no chance of Edeka prevailing, whereupon Edeka withdrew its appeal.

Brauwelt International Newsletter

Newsletter archive and information

Mandatory field