Was Nestea or Kubu expensive? According to the authority, prices could be fixed in several store chains

Was Nestea or Kubu expensive? According to the authority, prices could be fixed in several store chains
Was Nestea or Kubu expensive? According to the authority, prices could be fixed in several store chains

GVH is under investigation for creating an artificially high price level at a Polish group. Aldi, CBA, Coop, Tesco, Kubu, Nestea, Apenta: popular chains and brands are also affected.

According to the suspicions of the Economic Competition Office (GVH), the prices of some soft drinks could be fixed nationwide, they told Forbes.hu

According to GVH’s Friday press release, the Hungarian soft drink manufacturing subsidiary of the Polish Maspex group probably fixed the minimum consumer price of certain products in cooperation with several reseller partners, including large food chains (e.g. Aldi, CBA, Tesco, some Coop partners).

The participants of the agreement were thus able to eliminate price competition, creating an artificially high price level.

In recent days, the competition authority has carried out coordinated raids across the country on the premises of soft drink manufacturing and distribution companies, as well as chain stores.

The GVH has been under investigation for a long time

The Hungarian subsidiary of the Polish Maspex group, Maspex Olympos (a major 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.

Based on the documents seized during the procedure, the GVH 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 brands popular among domestic consumers such as Apenta, Kubu or Nestea.

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 presumed restriction of competition throughout the country in recent days.

Sales revenue: 22 billion

The initiation of the competition supervision procedure does not mean that the companies have committed the violation. The procedure will be conducted in six months, which can be extended twice, each by a maximum of six months, in justified cases.

The Economic Competition Authority has been working with comprehensive investigations since the fall of 2022 in order to break inflation, the announcement says. The authority recently concluded its accelerated sectoral investigations on the domestic markets of dairy products and durable foods.

If the suspicion is confirmed and a fine is the end of the shenanigans, Maspex Olympos will probably be able to pay.

Ltd. its sales revenue in 2021 was HUF 22 billion, and its profit after tax was HUF 1.8 billion.

The article is in Hungarian

Tags: Nestea Kubu expensive authority prices fixed store chains


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