The European Commission has dropped its probe into an alleged market-sharing deal between Carlsberg and Heineken.

Commission investigators raided both brewers in August, for the second time, for evidence that the two conspired to limit competition. European Union officials believed they had agreed to rival the other in its home market.

In a statement the Commission said the case has been closed as it did not find evidence that the suspected infringement continued after May 1995 as had been alleged.

The Commission added: “As evidence of the kind sought for was not found, the Commission came to the conclusion that any possible infringement arising in this case would fall outside the time limit for fines."

In December 2001, Interbrew was fined 46.5m euros for retail and wholesale price-fixing between 1993 and 1998. While Danone had to pay 44.6m euros for offenses when it owned Belgian brewer Alken Maes.