Coca-Cola Israel was slapped with a fine of tens of millions of shekels from the Israel Competition Authority this week for breaking monopoly laws by trying to hamper sales of competing soft drinks.
At a hearing Tuesday the Authority fined the Central Bottling Company, which handles Coca-Cola’s operations locally, NIS 36 million ($10.36 million). The fine was a reduced from an initial NIS 62 million ($17.85 million).
The Authority accused the company of taking advantage of its monopolist position in the soft drink market to engage in unreasonable market conduct.
Among the policies the company was said to have adopted was refusing to allow competing products to be displayed in refrigerators it provided to retailers, as well as trying to force retailers to remove competitors’ refrigerators.
The company was also found to have violated the terms of a merger agreement with the Neviot mineral water company, including lowering the price of Coca-Cola products in certain instances for customers who purchased Neviot products as well.
The CBC said in a statement that the hearing was the third it had faced on the accusations and that each time the Competition Authority has retracted some of its allegations and decreased the fine by tens of millions of shekels.
“We are convinced that by the end of proceedings regarding this decision all of the claims against the company will be canceled, as will the sanctions against it,” the company said.