Mondelez fined EUR 337.5m for hindering cross-border EU trade

Mondelez fined EUR 337.5m for hindering cross-border EU trade

The EU Commission fined chocolate maker Mondelez International EUR 337.5 million Thursday for hindering cross-border trade of chocolate, biscuits and coffee products between Member States.

This would be in breach of EU competition rules, says the Commission, which adds it remains committed to “bringing down unjustified barriers to ensure a better functioning of the Single Market”.

“Prices for food differ between Member States,” said EC vice-president in charge of competition policy Margrethe Vestager: “Trade over borders of Member States in the internal market can lower prices and increase the availability of products for consumers.

“This is especially important in times of high inflation. In today’s decision, we find that that Mondelez illegally limited cross-border sales across the EU. Mondelez did so to maintain higher prices for its products to the detriment of consumers. We have therefore fined Mondelez EUR 337.5 million.”

Mondelez, headquartered in the US, is one of the world’s largest producers of chocolate and biscuit products. Its portfolio includes well-known chocolate and biscuit brands such as Côte d’Or, Milka, Oreo, Ritz, Toblerone and TUC and until 2015 coffee brands such as HAG, Jacobs and Velours Noir.

The Commission’s investigation found that the company breached EU competition rules: (i) by engaging in anticompetitive agreements or concerted practices aimed at restricting cross-border trade of various chocolate, biscuit and coffee products; and (ii) by abusing its dominant position in certain national markets for the sale of chocolate tablets.

In particular, the EU executive found that Mondelez engaged in twenty-two anticompetitive agreements or concerted practices, in breach of Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (‘TFEU’), by: