Heineken owned Athenian Brewery has abused its dominant position in the Greek market for more than 16 years, according to a ruling by the Hellenic Competition Commission. Athenian was fined a record €31.5 million in 2015.
A competing brewery in Greece filed for damages against Heineken in 2017, claiming that the case should be heard in the Dutch courts because Athenian Brewery’s illegal activities had been carried out under the supervision and with the knowledge of executives at Heineken’s headquarters. In February 2021, Dutch courts gave the go-ahead for the process.
This is not the first time that Heineken has been in trouble with competition regulators. In 2007, the company was fined €219 million by the European Commission for participating in a cartel with its rival AB InBev and other brewers. In 2019, Heineken paid $2.5 million in a settlement over anti-competitive behavior with US regulators and in 2020 Heineken UK was fined £2m for having “seriously and repeatedly breached” competition rules for pub operators. The UK ombudsman, the Pubs Code Adjudicator, described Heineken as a “repeat offender”.