| BRUSSELS, April 4
BRUSSELS, April 4 French, German and Italian
groups urged their national antitrust enforcers on Tuesday to
look into alleged anti-competitive practices of McDonald's
, putting the U.S. fast-food chain at risk of multiple
investigations in Europe.
The three complaints share similar concerns about McDonald's
franchising terms and conditions, including prices set for
products sold at franchises, saying consumers are charged more
than at McDonald's own stores as a result.
With more than 80 percent of its outlets worldwide not
company-owned, franchising is an important business model for
McDonald's, the French, German and Italian competition
authorities and the European Commission did not immediately
respond to requests for comment.
In its complaint to the French competition authority seen by
Reuters, French consumer body Indecosa-CGT, which has 672,000
members, said McDonald's France forces franchisees to charge
higher prices than at its own stores.
German law firm SKW Schwarz filed a similar complaint to the
German cartel body on behalf of a group that it declined to
The document seen by Reuters cited anti-competitive clauses
such as the tying of franchising deals with lease agreements,
restrictions on suppliers and excessive rent for premises.
Italian consumer groups Codacons, Movimento Difesa del
Cittadino and Cittadinanzattiva said on Tuesday they would
withdraw a 2016 complaint to the European Commission because of
the slow pace of procedure and take it to the Italian watchdog
The national competition agencies can impose fines up to 10
percent of a company's global turnover for breaches of antitrust
rules as well as ordering them to stop unfair practices.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Philip Blenkinsop and