Greece's competition authority has fined Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever a total of €27m (US$31.3M) for “abusive practices" linked to the sale of its margarine products in the country.
The practices were said to have occurred between 2002 and 2008, before Unilever concluded the sale of its spreads business for US$8.04bn to private equity firm KKR in July 2018.
The Hellenic Competition Commission said that Unilever had used the scale of its margarine brands to impose unfair trading agreements on retailers and wholesales in Greece, wrote Foodnavigator.com on 15 October.
It found that Unilever’s Greek business, Elais-Unilever Hellas, had adopted “abusive practices” that aimed to maintain or extend Unilever’s market leadership in the margarine segment.
“These practices included targeted rebates and banning the promotion of competitive brands.”
The commission also ruled that Unilever broke competition law by forcing wholesales to accept resale price maintenance, restriction of active and passive sales and non-compete obligation clauses, Foodnavigator.com said.
Unilever may appeal the ruling, with a statement sent to just-food.com, saying: "Elais-Unilever Hellas S.A. states that [it] respectfully disagrees with the outcome and is going to review the rationale of the aforementioned decision, examining the grounds to appeal to the Administrative Court of Appeal."