SLOVENIA: Interbrew loses competition ruling
The Slovenian competition authority has dismissed the fears of global brewing giant Interbrew that the stake held by the country's largest brewer Pivovarna Lasko in rival Pivovarna Union could lead to a local monopoly.
Interbrew holds a 41% stake in Pivovarna Union and fears that Pivovarna Lasko may take a majority control of the smaller brewer, which would give it a 90% stake in the market.
However in a statement the country's competition authority said: "There is no concentration (monopoly) as Pivovarna Lasko has not reached the threshold of shares that would represent a more than 50 percent stake in Pivovarna Union's capital."
However, Pivovarna Lasko was also told by the Office for Protection of Competition that it would have to meet certain criteria if a takeover now ensued, including giving up the Union brand for at least a period.
Interbrew though has said it will appeal the ruling, claiming that the 90% potential share would violate EU rules, which Slovenia hopes to join next year. The company has also claimed that the director of the competition office, Andrej Plahutnik, was biased in favour of Pivovarna Lasko.
Slovenia's economics minister Tea Petrin has already rejected this accusation. But Interbrew said it would also be seeking to appeal that decision.
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