The Commission said that the brewers restricted competition in the Dutch market between 1996 and 1999. Heineken was fined E219m (£148m), Grolsch E31.7m (£21.5m) and Bavaria E22.9m (£15.5m). A fourth brewer, InBev, received no fine because it provided “decisive information” about the cartel.
In a statement, Heineken said: “Heineken is highly surprised by the decision and finds the fine excessive and unjustified given the strong arguments that the company put forward to the European Commission.”
“Once it becomes available, Heineken will study the details of the full version of the decision with the intention to appeal,” it added.