foto Peter Hilz (C)

AB InBev’s Indian offices searched

The authorities in India have searched the offices of AB InBev. The search was among a number carried out as part of an investigation into illegal price fixing. The offices of the Danish brewer Carlsberg were also searched as were those of United Breweries.

The British press agency Reuters reports that search and seizure operations were conducted at dawn on Thursday by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) at the offices of India's United Breweries, Denmark's Carlsberg and the world's largest brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) that has its headquarters in Leuven (Flemish Brabant). The search took place in at least two Indian cities.

The Indian competions regulator is reported to have been conducting an antitrust investigation into the three companies for the past year. Competition Commission of India was tipped off by one of the three companies after it filed a leniency application with the regulator. This is reported to have revealed details of the alleged price fixing.

The CCI’s leniency programme is a type of whistleblower protection offered to cartel members. An Indian government source said that the raids found email exchanges showing that the companies were fixing prices.

Asked by Reuters about the raids, a spokesman for AB InBev in India said: "It would not be appropriate for us to comment at this time."

He added: "We take antitrust compliance very seriously. Integrity and ethics are part of our core values, embodied in our company culture. Our Code of Business Conduct makes clear that our employees must understand and comply with all applicable competition laws."