SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China’s top luxury liquor makers Kweichow Moutai Co Ltd (600519.SS) and Wuliangye Yibin Co Ltd (000858.SZ) have been fined a total of 449 million yuan ($71.92 million) for violating price monopoly rules, the official China National Radio reported on Tuesday.
Moutai and Wuliangye said last month they had violated anti-trust laws by financially penalizing third-party distributors who sold their premium “baijiu” alcohol at prices below levels set by the company, following checks by anti-trust investigators.
Liquor makers and distributors have come under pressure to sell off inventories after Beijing started cracking down on the use of public funds to buy luxury items like baijiu, traditionally given to authority figures as a sign of respect. In December, alcohol was banned at military events.
The China National Radio report, posted on its website, said the penalty handed down by China’s top planning body, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), was equivalent to 1 percent of the two firms’ combined 2012 revenue. It did not give a breakdown of the penalty.
Repeated calls to the companies were unanswered. An NDRC spokeswoman declined to comment.
($1 = 6.2427 Chinese yuan)
Reporting by Kazunori Takada; Editing by Stephen Coates