New Delhi: Ban Lifted on AB InBev
A tribunal has lifted the sales ban placed on AB InBev by the New Delhi government.
The city government ordered a 3 year sales ban on AB InBev, after a 3 year investigation which revealed, beer maker SABMiller – acquired by AB InBev in 2016 for around $100 billion – used duplicate barcodes on its beer bottles supplied to city retailers that year, allowing it to pay lower levies.
AB InBev appealed against the ban to the Commissioner of Excise in the Delhi city government. While the company’s appeal is still under consideration, AB InBev also filed a separate plea with the Commissioner for putting the ban order on hold pending appeal, but that request was turned down.
The initial 3 year ban was later reduced to 18 months.
The AB InBev appeal against the ban was rejected in December by a judge of the Delhi High Court, who directed AB InBev to approach the city tribunal for further relief.
The tribunal has issued a stay order on the ban last week, while the plea is being heard. The order did not state any reasons. This means AB InBev is allowed to sell their products in New Delhi again. The next hearing is set for February 25, 2020.
The Delhi City Government have stated they will continue to defend their ban order against AB InBev.
AB InBev will also continue the appeal against the ban arguing that they were not informed of the issue earlier and did not receive adequate notice.
India is a key market for AB InBev. The company is the second largest in India’s $7 billion alcohol market with a 17.5% share according to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis.
AB InBev is also currently under investigation by the The Competition Commission of India (CCI), for alleged price cartelisation.
AB InBev has previously been charged with a range of business malpractices, including but not limited to:
The New Indian Express: “Budweiser is back in Delhi as tribunal stays ban on AB InBev“