Heineken is to file an appeal against April's EUR219.3m (US$294.4m) fine from the European Commission.

The brewer confirmed today (1 June) that it will appeal against the EC's ruling that it had broken EU anti-trust laws in Holland between 1996 and 1999. The Commission backed a conclusion by its antitrust authorities in 2005 that Heineken, along with Bavaria, Grolsch and InBev, had fixed prices, allocated customers and exchanged commercially-sensitive information between themselves in Holland.

"Having now studied the full decision in detail, it is clear that there remain significant differences of interpretation and disagreement on some of the company's arguments," Heineken said today. "In particular, Heineken acknowledged in its original defence that various meetings and contacts took place between the brewers, some of them nearly 12 years ago.

"The European Commission though failed to accept Heineken's assertion that these meetings did not constitute a cartel."

The brewer noted that it has a competition compliance policy across its business, as well as a code of business conduct for its employees. "Both processes are subject to annual review or audit, and compliance to competition law is recognised as being an important business principle," Heineken added.

The brewer concluded that, given that the issues relating to the decision are now part of a formal, legal process, it would not be commenting further on its appeal decision.