On January 18, 2022, the German Federal Cartel Office published a press release of its review of two sustainability initiatives. Only a week later, on January 25, 2022, the FCO provided further guidance for the implementation of sustainability initiatives under competition law: It concluded that a proposed agreement in the milk sector to introduce surcharges for the benefit of milk producers was anticompetitive.

In 2021, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) concluded three major proceedings on resale price maintenance and vertical price fixing.  It fined five musical instrument companies a total of € 21 million for resale price maintenance and horizontal price-fixing, a backpack maker € 2 million for setting minimum retail prices, and consumer electronics manufacturer € 7 million for resale price maintenance.  These cases illustrate that the FCO considers resale price maintenance a serious infringement for which it imposes significant fines.

In 2021, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) concluded a long-lasting proceeding into price fixing and information exchange in the stainless steel sector after it had already in early 2021 fined steel forgers € 35 million for information[1], while it unsuccessfully defended its decision relating to an alleged “Kölsch” beer cartel before the Düsseldorf Court of Appeal (“DCA”).  The FCO will find itself before the courts again soon as it has appealed the DCA’s “Kölsch” beer cartel judgment and two undertakings have appealed the FCO’s stainless steel cartel decision.