PMI Pays Fine in Anti-Competition Case

    Photo: Taco Tuinstra

    Philip Morris International (PMI) has paid a UAH1.18 billion ($66.07 million) fine imposed by the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (AMCU), reports Interfax-Ukraine.

    In October 2019, the AMCU imposed a UAH6.5 billion fine on four international tobacco companies and their local distributor, Tedis Ukraine, for alleged anti-competitive behavior. The agency said the country’s leading tobacco companies and their common distributor, TEDIS, had conspired to keep new businesses from entering the market. However, critics said the AMCU helped bring about the current situation by permitting Tedis Ukraine to acquire several key distribution companies.

    The companies appealed the decision at the Economic Court in Kiev but lost. Last week, the American Chamber of Commerce (ACC) in Ukraine expressed concern about the fairness of the trial, saying the defendants had not been given full access to the evidence on which the AMCU based its allegations.

    The ACC cautioned that the international publicity associated with the case could negatively impact Ukraine’s image among foreign investors.

    Since 1994, PMI has invested more than $370 million in the production and distribution of cigarettes and commercialization of reduced-risk products in Ukraine.

    In 2016, Ukraine became the seventh market where PMI launched sales of IQOS tobacco-heating systems. The company employs more than 1,300 people in Ukraine.