EU opens probe of global beer giant AB InBev

BRUSSELS - The European Union has opened an investigation into global beer giant AB InBev (BUD) to determine if it has abused its dominant position in Belgium by hindering cheaper imports of its products from neighboring countries.

EU officials said Thursday there are suspicions the company, based in Leuven, Belgium, may be pursuing a deliberate strategy to block imports of its beer from less expensive countries, including France and the Netherlands, to the pricier Belgian market.

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said that "AB InBev's strong position on the Belgian beer market is not a problem." However, she said, "keeping out cheaper imports of its beer from neighboring countries would be both against the interests of consumers and anti-competitive."

There was no immediate response to an emailed request to AB InBev for comment.