Coca-Cola Israel in monopoly violations probe

The Antitrust Authority is investigating allegations about Tara Dairy product sales.

Sources inform ''Globes'' that the Antitrust Authority has opened an investigation against Central Bottling Company Ltd. (Coca-Cola Israel) on suspicion of abusing its monopoly power in the beverages market and violating the restrictions imposed on it as a monopoly. The Antitrust Authority launched a covert investigation a few weeks ago, and summoned several company executives for hearings when the investigation became public on Monday. Coca-Cola Israel's president is Ronnie Kobrovsky and its CEO is Itzik Tamir

Coca-Cola Israel allegedly offered cross conditions to promote sales of Tara Dairy Ltd. by offering trading conditions on Coca-Cola and other company brands. These activities allegedly took place in both the retail and institutional markets, such as cafe chains.

For example, Coca-Cola Israel allegedly made discounts on Coca-Cola beverages subject to buying Tara products. It also allegedly threatened institutions that it would not grant discounts on Coca-Cola if they did not buy Tara products.

Coca-Cola Israel is privately owned by chairman Moshe Wertheim. It wholly owns Tara Dairy, juice maker Prigat Ltd., bottled water company Neviot - Nature of Galilee Ltd., and International Beer Breweries Ltd., which is licensed to brew Carlsberg, Tuborg, Stella Artois, Guinness, and other brands, and holds the Israeli franchise of British dairy brand Muller. It is Israel's largest beverages company and has a clear monopoly in the market.

The Antitrust Authority last investigated Coca-Cola Israel in October 2000 for allegedly abusing its monopoly to promote Neviot sales.

The Antitrust Authority declined to comment on the report.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on February 12, 2014

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2014

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