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Fair play aim in EU 'Coke' deal

Fair play aim in EU 'Coke' deal
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Coca-Cola has promised to take up a little less space in the soft drinks market.

This ends a European Commission antitrust case against it which began five years ago. It started with complaints from rival producer Pepsi. Brussels investigated, then accused the world’s largest purveyor of fizzy beverages of making it too hard for other firms to compete. The EU executive chose dialogue rather than confrontation. If the new commitments proposed by the company are not kept, a fine can be imposed; Key players in the market will be consulted for one month before the remedy package is confirmed. Competition Commissioner Mario Monti lists the main changes: “No more exclusivity arrangements, no target and growth rebates, no use of Coca-Cola’s strongest brands to sell less popular products, and 20% of free space in Coca-Cola’s coolers.” The American multinational controls nearly half the European market. Under the deal, its carbonated orange or lemon-based refreshments will be grouped with other brands, rather than grouping them, as before, with the flagship product.