SEOUL FINED PERNOD RICARD KOREA USD0.7M FOR HANDING OUT ILLEGAL REBATES
By Siulan Law Mathews DipWSET
Source: Pernod Ricard Korea
South Korea's Fair Trade Commission (FTC) as imposed fines of WON 918 million (USD697,000) on two local units of French wine and spirits giant Pernod Ricard for handing out illegal rebates to hospitality venues.
The regulator said in a statement released yesterday that Pernod Ricard Korea and Pernod Ricard Korea Imperial have given rebates totalling WON61.5 billion (USD46.7m) to hundreds of hospitality establishments from 2010 to 2020.
The FTC said both companies had traded as one entity and are responsible for ditributing popular whisky brands including Ballantine's, Chivas Regal and Royal Salute in South Korea.
It said fines of WON459m will be slapped on each firm despite that Pernod Ricard Korea Imperial has remained inactive since 2019.
"The fines are significant in maintaining a fair trading environment in the liquor market of South Korea," the FTC said in the statement.
“It is important to make sure that market players compete on price, quality and service, instead of illegal rebates,” the regulator added.
Under South Korean laws, companies are prohibited from inducing customers to make purchases by providing unfair benefits.
Pernod Ricard had about 8 percent of the South Korea's whisky market in 2019, standing as the third-largest player.
Diageo was the biggest player with 34 percent market share, trailed by Golden Blue with 28 percent.
(the writer can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org)
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