SABMiller is accused of abusing its dominant position in South Africa

SABMiller is accused of abusing its dominant position in South Africa

SABMiller's South African subsidiary has said that it will “fully contest” allegations of anti-competitive behaviour relating to a nine-year-old inquiry, and remains “confident” that it has not broken the law.

The long-running case has come to light again after evidence sessions in a fresh tribunal kicked off this week, Africa's Mail & Guardian reported. South African Breweries (SAB), which has a 90% share of South Africa's beer market, stands accused of flouting the country's competition laws via distribution and pricing activities between 2004 and 2007.

The original case came about after wholesaler Big Daddy's lodged a complaint to the country's Competition Commission (CC) over SAB's distribution system. 

SAB successfully had the case dismissed, arguing that the one presented by the CC was not the same as Big Daddy's original complaint. The CC had accused SAB of abusing its dominant position in the market.

However, after further legal wranglings, South Africa's Competition Appeal Court said last November that the original ruling could be set aside and the CC's case against SAB could resume. 

In a statement to just-drinks today (24 July), SAB said it “will continue to fully contest the case of alleged anti-competitive behaviour which is currently being heard by the Competition Tribunal”. 

SAB strategy director Yolanda Cuba said: “We remain confident that none of our practices are in breach of the law and that we have not engaged in any anti-competitive behaviour.

"We welcome competition as the company believes that it results in greater choice, innovation, higher quality and lower prices for consumers.”

Hearings in the current tribunal are expected to conclude by 16 August.