October 25, 2019 / 7:45 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Brazilian beverage distributors file antitrust complaint against Ambev

(Adds antitrust regulator's comments)

By Gabriela Mello

SAO PAULO, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Beverage distributors working for Brazilian brewer Ambev SA have filed a complaint against the company at the local antitrust regulator Cade, accusing it of anticompetitive practices.

An industry group representing 110 resellers and logistic distributors, known as Confenar, blames Ambev for implementing abusive commercial policies due to its dominant market position in Brazil.

"Ambev creates a closed and vicious cycle of control, determining resellers to work on the product mix they want, in the format, price and structure of their interest," Confenar's president, Ataíde Gil Guerreiro, said in a statement on Friday.

Fines applied to companies found guilty of anticompetitive practices may range from 0.1% to 20% of the gross revenue in the year preceding the filing of the complaint, Cade said in an emailed statement.

Ambev said in a statement that it regrets that Confenar has taken to Cade private contract negotiations, which has been ongoing for months.

"Confenar wants a guarantee of minimum profitability, which goes against free enterprise and business logic, and is using authorities as an instrument to try to pressure Ambev in a private negotiation," it said in a statement sent to Reuters.

The company also said that all of its commercial policies "are thoroughly reviewed by a committee with external members and are absolutely in line with current laws, including antitrust."

Earlier on Friday, Latin America's largest brewery reported a 9.7% fall in third-quarter net profit hurt by a jump in costs and slowed volume growth in its home market.

Ambev' shares were trading almost 7% down at 17.89 reais, posting the worst performance in the Brazilian main stock index , which was up 0.27%.

Reporting by Gabriela Mello Editing by Nick Zieminski and Richard Chang

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