27 April 2009 | Martha McKenzie- Minifie
The supplier payment times of brewery giant Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) are coming under scrutiny in Belgium.
The world's largest brewing company - which produces Budweiser, Stella and Beck's - this year increased its supplier payment terms to 120 days (News, 5 March).
The Belgian economy minister, Vincent Van Quickenborne, asked the country's competition authority to investigate whether AB InBev abused its dominant position.
A spokesman for the minister told SM the informal inquiry was in an early stage and could be reported back in a fortnight.
He said the minister had a "strong stance" on competition rules and had ordered inquiries in the past - but this was the first he was aware of in which supplier payment terms were being investigated.
The UK Competition Commission also said it was not aware of competition investigations in the UK that specifically centred on supplier payment terms.
An AB InBev spokeswoman said the company did not have enough information about the complaint to comment but added: "AB InBev respects local laws and regulations as they apply and always respects its contractual obligations."