San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Coca Cola Distributor Fined For Monopolistic Behavior

THE Competition Promotion Officeof the Economy, Industry and CommerceMinistry (MEIC) has fined EmbotelladoraPanam-Tica, the national distributor ofCoca Cola brand soft drinks, ¢68 million($156,000) for applying monopolistic andanti-competitive tactics that may havehurt sales of competing brands of beverages,according to a MEIC statement.PepsiCo Inc., Pepsi-ColaInteramericana de Guatemala and PepsiCola Manufacturing Company ofUruguay S.R.L filed the complaint inMay 2001 against the Coca ColaCompany and Embotelladora Panam-Tica. Smaller beverage firms, includingRefrescos La Mundial and Sirope la Flor,later joined the complaint.The Competition Promotion Officefound Coca Cola guilty of price fixingand monopolistic behavior.The company was ordered to stopsigning exclusivity contracts with retailers,which limit free competition.Coca Cola was sanctioned for requiringthat retailers use the refrigerator unitit loans them exclusively for Coca Colaproducts. In the case of small stores, thispolicy excludes competitors from beingable to sell their goods, MEIC said.The Competition Promotion Office’sTechnical Support Unit will monitor CocaCola’s compliance to the ruling during thenext year. Coca Cola has two months toappeal the ruling.

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