The European Commission's competition authorities have launched an investigation into the American drinks giant Coca-Cola. According to German media, a billion-dollar fine is imminent.
A spokesperson for the Commission confirmed that they sent questionnaires to Coca-Cola as part of a preliminary investigation. She declined to give further details, but according to LebensmittelZeitung, the enquiry focuses on the discount system of the beverage giant and may lead to a billion-dollar fine for the Atlanta-based company.
Coca-Cola itself stated that it received a request for information last Thursday. "While we will fully cooperate with the Commission, it would be inappropriate for us to comment any further while the process is ongoing. We comply with European competition law and all other applicable laws and regulations," said a spokesperson for the group.
European trade organisation EuroCommerce is pleased with the investigation, which, according to director general Christian Verschueren, will shed more light on how large suppliers use their market power to the detriment of consumers. "For many years, we have been highlighting the problems our industry faces as the manufacturers of 'must-have products' use their market power to impose unilateral conditions and limit competition to their advantage."