Mondelez International

Mondelez Faces €337.5 Million Fine for Rigging European Markets

Mondelez, the renowned maker of Oreo cookies and Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate, has been slapped with a hefty fine of €337.5 million ($366 million) by the European Union for engaging in anti-competitive practices aimed at inflating prices of chocolate, cookies, and coffee across EU member states.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition chief, denounced Mondelez’s actions, stating that the company deliberately impeded cross-border trade within the EU to artificially sustain higher prices for its products. Vestager emphasized the significance of fair pricing for groceries, particularly during periods of heightened inflation.

The investigation, initiated by the European Commission in 2019 and formally launched in 2021, revealed that Mondelez International (MDLZ) had obstructed cross-border sales and abused its dominant market position in certain national markets for chocolate bars. Mondelez ceased supplying chocolate bars in the Netherlands to prevent their importation into Belgium, where the same products were sold at elevated prices.

In response to the findings, a spokesperson for Mondelez acknowledged the penalties, attributing them to “isolated incidents” that were addressed prior to the Commission’s investigation. The company reiterated its commitment to compliance and emphasized enhancements to its compliance program.

The EU’s investigation uncovered a pattern of illicit practices dating back to 2006, including Mondelez’s refusal to supply a wholesaler in Germany to prevent the resale of chocolate bars in countries where prices were higher. Additionally, the company imposed pricing disparities between exports and domestic sales, further distorting market dynamics.

Mondelez had already made provisions for the fine in the previous year, obviating the need for additional financial measures to cover the penalty.

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