Distell hauls beverage behemoth AB-InBev before Tribunal on claims of breach of merger conditions. File Photo: IOL

CAPE TOWN – Merged brewing and beverage companies Anheuser-Busch (AB) InBev and SABMiller have been hauled before the Competition Tribunal by Distell on accusations of breach of merger conditions.

Distell, the local beverages company, recently approached the Competition Commission on the alleged breach of conditions alleging, among others, that the merged entity removed competitors’ advertising material from outlets. 

The Commission found that the conditions had not been breached, according to a statement released by Competition Tribunal on Wednesday.

Distell is now asking the Tribunal to review and set aside the Commission’s finding and for a full investigation to be conducted. “In the event that the Tribunal does not find that the conditions were breached, Distell is asking that the Tribunal provide guidance on the proper interpretation of the conditions,” reads the statement.

SAB, meanwhile, argues that Distell’s complaint is an attempt to restrict competition and is unrelated to the merger conditions. The company said the complaints had no merit and should be dismissed.

The Tribunal conditionally approved the multibillion-dollar merger between AB-InBev and SABMiller in June 2016. Distell had participated in the hearing at the time and made substantial submissions in relation to conditions that were ultimately imposed on the merger.

The Tribunal will consider all submissions during the hearing, scheduled to take place on Thursday and Friday. 

BUSINESS REPORT