Cade approves collaboration between competitors in the food and beverage industry10/06/2020
Por: Paula Salles, Vitória Oliveira
Ambev, BRF, Coca-Cola, Mondelez, Nestlé and PepsiCo have recently entered into a collaboration agreement – “Movimento Nós” – aimed at providing measures to foster the economic recovery of food and beverage small retailers in Brazil. Whilst the antitrust approval of the collaboration was not mandatory, the companies voluntarily communicated with the Administrative Council for Economic Defense – Cade on 5/19/2020.
According to the participating companies, Movimento Nós aims to promote actions in favor of small traders, through the granting of discount, credit, differentiated payment conditions etc. Also, Movimento Nós will donate health kits (masks and alcohol gel) to around 150,000 small businesses. The project has a limited term until 10/31/2020 but may be extended depending on the size and duration of the economic crisis, with prior notice to Cade.
Participating companies shall establish their actions individually and independently. Exchange of commercially sensitive information among participants and collective incentive policies shall be prohibited.
Cade ruled favorably to Movimento Nós based on the following assumptions: (i) the collaboration agreement is temporary; (ii) the participating companies individually would not be able to support retailers; and (iii) the collaboration agreement will generate efficiencies.
According to Cade, the proposed collaboration does not facilitate the coordination of commercial initiatives between competitors and does not involve sharing of commercially sensitive information. The fact that the parties submitted the agreement voluntarily to Cade was also viewed positively.
Cade’s President Alexandre Barreto declared that the decision should not be understood as a safe harbor or a grant of immunity to competitors, and Cade may investigate the collaboration if there are signs of anticompetitive practice or risks to the market.
Cade took only nine days to issue a ruling on Movimento Nós. In recent public statements, both Cade’s President and General Superintendent, Alexandre Cordeiro, reaffirmed that Cade is extremely attentive of this difficult time for companies and businesses, and suggested that parties with urgent matters contact Cade either through meetings/informal calls or formally by filing a submission/request.