EU: Coke and EU near anti-trust closure
The European Union is close to announcing a deal in its on-going battle with Coca-Cola in an anti-trust case.
Sources close to talks between the two sides have been quoted in today's press saying that the EU was ready to unveil a settlement following the agreement by Coke to modify in European sales practises.
The source said that the EU was set to issue a settlement decision, which will help bind Cokes commitments and make them more enforceable in national courts.
Such a deal will see Coke avoid a fine and brings to an end the threat of on-going legal wrangling.
It is though the deal wll come into effect next spring.
The EU has been investigating allegations that Coke's distribution deals in Europe unfairly restricted access for competing products to store shelves and coolers.
According to press reports last month, Coke has offered to scrap all rebates that require retailers to reach specific sales or growth targets. It also will no longer link discounts on flagship products to sales of new flavours or less-popular brands, and promised to drop requirements that all its products be displayed together on store shelves.
The company also will allow rivals to occupy 20% of the space inside its coolers, if its coolers are the only ones in the store, and to allow outlets, like fast-food restaurants, to serve a "guest" beverage from some Coke-branded soda fountains. Store owners would also be allowed to terminate exclusivity deals by buying the equipment after three years - two years longer than the EU had initially sought.
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