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Report: Carlsberg, United Breweries seek leniency in India price fixing probe

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Report: Carlsberg, United Breweries seek leniency in India price fixing probe

Carlsberg A/S and India's United Breweries Ltd. asked for leniency from the Competition Commission of India in its investigation into alleged beer price fixing, Reuters reported Dec. 13, citing unnamed sources.

The Competition Commission of India, or CCI, has been conducting a probe of the two companies, as well as Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV, over an alleged beer cartel. Together they account for 90% of the Indian beer market.

According to the report, Carlsberg and United Breweries have filed leniency applications under the CCI's whistleblower-protection program, submitted evidence and vowed to cooperate with the investigation. Such cooperation could minimize fines if an applicant adds value to existing evidence, the report said.

Reuters revealed in its Oct. 25 report that a tip-off from AB InBev triggered the investigation, which culminated in dawn raids at the offices of the three brewers that unearthed emails showing collusion.

Following the raid, United Breweries said in a Bombay Stock Exchange disclosure that it was reviewing the legal risks and potential implications of the affair.

Carslberg told Reuters that it was in full cooperation with the CCI, as it had been since the start of the investigation.

AB InBev told the newswire that it takes antitrust compliance "very seriously" but did not comment further.

Heineken and United Breweries have declined to comment, Reuters added.

Carlsberg, United Breweries, Heineken and the CCI did not immediately respond to requests for comment from S&P Global Market Intelligence.