SABMiller took majority control of Crown Beverages in 2011

SABMiller took majority control of Crown Beverages in 2011

SABMiller's Kenyan unit has paid an "administrative penalty" after distributor contracts in the country were found to breach anti-trust laws.

Crown Beverages told just-drinks yesterday the KES2.4m (US$23,000) payment was part of a settlement agreement with the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK). The settlement, agreed in October last year, followed a CAK investigation into the Kenyan alcoholic beverages sector.

The investigation found two clauses in Crown agreements that set minimum price rules for distributors.

Crown, which is 80%-owned by SABMiller, said the clauses were "historical" and never enforced. The contracts have now been amended.

The company said in a statement: "We would like to clarify that Crown Beverages has never enforced minimum resale price maintenance or prevented our distributors from undercutting their competitors in order to woo customers and increase sales as they see fit."

It added: "Crown Beverages strongly believes in the principles of free and fair competition in the markets in which we operate."

SABMiller took majority control of Crown Beverages in 2011. The company brews SABMiller brands including Castle and Miller and bottles mineral water.

SABMiller's Coca-Cola Beverages Africa opened for business this month. The Coca-Cola bottler, the tenth largest in the world, is a joint-venture between SABMiller, Coca-Cola Sabco and The Coca-Cola Co.