The European Commission has announced opening an investigation into a potential cartel in the energy drink industry. The inquiry will investigate whether companies colluded to keep prices high and limit competition.
According to a statement from the European Commission, the investigation will focus on “suspected anti-competitive practices in the market for energy drinks in the European Economic Area (EEA).”
The statement also notes that the Commission has reason to believe that companies may have engaged in price-fixing, limiting access to the market, and sharing commercially sensitive information.
“The energy drink sector is an important and growing part of the beverage industry, and it is important that competition in this market is not distorted,” said Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission.
The companies under investigation have not been named. Still, the Commission notes that it has conducted unannounced inspections at the premises of several companies involved in producing and distributing energy drinks.
The investigation is in its early stages, and it is unclear how long it will take. If the Commission finds evidence of a cartel, it can impose fines of up to 10% of a company’s annual worldwide turnover.