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Competition body approves beer merger

The Dutch beer giant Heineken may purchase Lucerne's Eichhof brewery without conditions, Switzerland's competition watchdog has ruled.

The Federal Competition Commission on Thursday said there was “no sufficient evidence of a permanent dominance” by what will be the country’s two main beer producers – Heineken-Eichhof and Switzerland’s largest, Carlsberg/Feldschlösschen.

Previously, the competition body had expressed concern that the two firms would unfairly dominate the market but after a review, said local and regional competitors would remain viable.

“The beer market is open enough and competitors can enter the market without high barriers,” it said.

The merger, first proposed in April, will give Heineken a 23 per cent market share.

In a statement, Eichhof said it was satisfied with the commission’s ruling and that the sale process would continue according to plan.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR