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    Mondelez to be fined for blocking cross-border sales

    Photo: iStock

    The European Union is set to fine Oreo maker Mondelez International, for blocking cross-border sales, stated recent reports.

    Regulators in Brussels will order the US-based group, which owns brands including Oreo, Cadbury and Toblerone, to stop blocking cross-border trading because of the potential harm to consumers at a time of high inflation, Financial Times reported today (16). The timing of the announcement and the amount of the fine could change, stated the report citing people familiar with the matter.

    The fine could be worth millions of euros and come as early as next month, the report said.

    The investigation by the European Commission, the EU’s executive body, examined, in particular, restrictions on languages used on packaging, which would potentially undermine the choice of countries a trader can sell in and whether curbs on parallel trading had pushed up prices or limited choice for customers across the continent.

    EU antitrust authorities began investigating Mondelez International in early 2021 over concerns it may have blocked cross-border sales of its products in the European Union in breach of competition rules.

    When the probe was opened, the EU’s top competition enforcer Margrethe Vestager said “chocolates, biscuits and coffee are products consumed by European citizens daily”, and that the commission would look at “whether Mondelez, a key producer of these products, might have restricted free competition in the markets . . . leading to higher prices for consumers”.

    Regulators can impose fines of up to 10 per cent of a company’s global turnover if they are found to have broken EU competition law.

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