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6th July 2017

Macedonian Thrace Brewery welcomes antitrust ruling against Heineken’s subsidiary Athenian Brewery 

Appeals Court confirms 16 years of illegal market abuses


Athens, Greece, Wednesday 5th July 2017: Macedonian Thrace Brewery (MTB) today welcomes a damning appeals court judgment against Heineken’s 98.8%-owned Greek operating company, saying this clearly supports its claim for damages of €100 million-plus against Europe’s largest brewer.


The Administrative Appeals Court, in Athens, has upheld the substance of a 2015 landmark antitrust finding by the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) against Heineken’s subsidiary Athenian Brewery (AB) for nearly two decades of illegal anti-competitive market abuse in Greece. Following a 12-year-long HCC investigation, the longest in its history, AB, was found to have systematically abused its dominant market position in violation of Greek and EU competition law.


The Appeals Court upheld the substance of the HCC’s decision and after a technical adjustment to the original HCC fine, confirmed a record €26.7 million fine on Heineken’s operating company in Greece.


The HCC found overwhelming evidence that AB, which sells Alfa, Amstel and Heineken in Greece, implemented a targeted policy to exclude competitors from all channels – wholesalers, on-trade (e.g. HORECA – hotels, bars and restaurants) and off-trade retail outlets.


In February MTB launched a damages claim against Heineken and Athenian Brewery in the Court of Amsterdam, commercial division.


Demetri Politopoulos, one of MTB’s founders said: “The Competition authority and now the appeals court has reaffirmed the full extent and intensity of Heineken’s breaches of antitrust regulations in Greece. Due process has triumphed despite Heineken’s disingenuous refusal to accept responsibility and their unrelenting efforts to overturn a sound decision.


“Heineken’s long-standing market manipulation must now give way to fair competition and Heineken must compensate those who have been materially damaged, including MTB. Greece will only succeed economically with a free and fair market that encourages investment and healthy competition. This kind of market abuse has no place in our country. We believe that ultimate responsibility for years of market abuses lies at Heineken’s head office in Amsterdam which is why we have sued both Heineken and Athenian Brewery in the Netherlands, to finally get to the root of this problem.”



For more information contact:

David Wilson      +44 7909 974994

On behalf of Macedonian Thrace Brewery (MTB)


About MTB


Macedonian Thrace Brewery (MTB) was founded in 1996 by brothers Michael and Demetri Politopoulos in Komotini, Greece. Proud Greek nationals, they set up MTB as an independent brewer at a time when no premium Greek beer brands existed in the market. All Greek beer production was then either partly or wholly owned by foreign breweries.


The brothers believed in the potential of brewing beer in Greece, by Greeks, using local ingredients, for Greek consumers – and its premium Vergina lager launched to market in February 1998. MTB continues to be a wholly Greek-owned brewery and now has a 6% share of the Greek beer market through its premium beer Vergina.



David Wilson


Junction Communications Ltd

+44 7909 974994