In recent days, the national competition authority has carried out coordinated raids across the country on the premises of soft drink manufacturing and distribution companies and retail chains.
The Hungarian subsidiary of the Polish Maspex group, Maspex Olympos – a large domestic soft drink manufacturer, the Hungarian distributor of the Olympos, Kubu, Apenta, Topjoy and Nestea brands, among others – has been investigated by the competition authority since February based on the evidence obtained in the investigation of the HoReCa sector.
The company probably prescribed to its partners the minimum price at which they can sell their products in domestic catering establishments and during wholesale distribution
– explained the GVH in its announcement. Based on the documents seized during the procedure, the competition office concludes that the soft drink manufacturer fixed the consumer prices of the various drinks and other products it sells not only in the wholesale and catering sectors, but probably also in the commercial sector, in cooperation with its food distribution partners.
The participants of the agreement thus probably avoided price competition in the stores of the relevant chain stores with regard to brands popular among domestic consumers, such as Apenta, Kubu or Nestea
– says the competition office in its announcement.
Inflation is broken with tests
In order to investigate the market behavior that has newly come under the GVH’s purview, the national competition authority launched a new competition supervision procedure on May 23, 2023 against Maspex Olympos Üdítőital Gyártó Kft. and several of its partners in the food industry.
The procedure started with coordinated on-site research (raids) at the premises of the companies concerned, during which GVH specialists collected evidence of the suspected restriction of competition throughout the country in recent days.
– reads the statement. At the same time, the competition office notes that the initiation of the competition supervision procedure does not mean that the companies have committed the violation.
The procedure is aimed at clarifying the facts and thereby proving the alleged violation. The period provided for conducting the procedure is six months, which can be extended twice, each time by a maximum of six months, in justified cases.
Since autumn 2022, the Economic Competition Authority has been working with comprehensive investigations to break down inflation. The authority recently concluded its accelerated sectoral investigations on the domestic markets of dairy products and durable foods.
Based on the findings of the two investigations, the national competition authority formulated a number of proposals that could contribute to the reduction of domestic food prices, both in the short and long term. In the published reports, the GVH predicted that it would pay special attention to the commercial sector in order to increase competition and lower prices.