October 4, 2022

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Rema 1000 believes beer incorporation will 'significantly' weaken competition - E24

Rema 1000 believes beer incorporation will ‘significantly’ weaken competition – E24

The Norwegian competition authority is considering halting the merger between Hansa Borg and Royal Unibrew, and has asked for the grocery giant’s opinion.

Rema owner and CEO Ole Robert Reitan has come close several times to the competitive position of the grocery industry.
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E24 wrote last week that the Norwegian competition authority must decide by May 13 whether it wants to stop the merger between Hansa Borg and Royal Unibrew.

Meanwhile, they solicited input from the three major grocery operators: Rema 1000, Norgesgruppen and Coop.

The Norwegian Competition Authority is particularly concerned with competition within sides and flavored alcoholic beverages, the so-called “FAB”.

“By merging the business, RU (Royal Unibrew journal. Note) has become the leading supplier of cider and FAB. If RU is allowed to maintain its position as a dominant supplier, competition in the category will be significantly weakened, in the Rema 1000’s view.”

The law firm Bahr wrote this in a letter to the Norwegian Competition Authority on behalf of Rema 1000.

Often the same customers

In requesting information to grocery chains, the authority asked, among other things, to answer a number of questions about the market, purchases, and negotiations regarding beverages.

Hansa is one of the largest suppliers of pages in Norway, and has, among other things, the Grevens page brand. They also offer flavored beverages such as Bulmers and Bacardi Breezer.

Rema 1000 writes that Pages and “FAB” often have the same customer base and the same suppliers. They put two different products on the same shelf.

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The grocery chain also wrote that Hansaburg is by far the “biggest player” in terms of aspects, a leader in flavored liquors, and that Royal Unibrew is the second largest in flavored liquors.

“The business combination means that two of the three largest suppliers of pages are merging with First Abu Dhabi Bank. For the Rema 1000, it is important to maintain competition at the supplier level,” they wrote.

– All the answers are interesting

The head of food, trade and health at the Norwegian Competition Authority, Beate Berrefjord, says those with the questions will listen to the opinion of affected actors on the merger.

– We cannot just decide from what is in the letter whether the association should be suspended or not, so it is only natural to consult with those affected.

– The Rema 1000 says they think it will “significantly weaken the competition”. How much weight do you attach to the answers you get?

All the answers are fun, and sometimes they go in different directions. It is difficult to say how to evaluate individual answers, but we take all the information further in the treatment of the case. She says the answers help shed light on the issue.