BELGIUM: Bottle consolidation draws EU complaint
Europe's bottle suppliers face a probe by EU competition officials after a complaint from wine and spirit importers.
Rapid consolidation among bottle-makers has caused serious supply shortages that have pushed up prices by 30% in some cases, according to Jean-Jacques Delhaye, secretary general of Belgium's Wine and Spirit Federation.
Competition officials at the European Commission said they would study the claims, after receiving a letter from Delhaye.
Europe's three major bottle suppliers, Saint-Gobain, Owens Illinois and Ardagh Glass, control around 95% of the market.
Delhaye told just-drinks that wine and spirit groups across Europe were struggling to buy specialist bottles. "Five years ago it was possible to buy from more than 60 suppliers, but now we only have three. This letter is not a formal complaint, but asking, are we going to accept that?"
The UK Wine & Spirit Trade Association refused to support its Belgian counterpart, however.
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