Is Europe's biggest beer producer abusing its market dominance?

The European Commission is launching a new probe...

Is Europe's biggest beer producer abusing its market dominance?

Joerg Sarbach / AP

EU competition regulators have begun a new investigation into whether Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, has "abused its dominant position" in Belgium.

Europe’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager will examine whether the company has broken Europe’s antitrust rules by hindering the entrance of cheaper imported beers into the Belgien market.

She added that the size of the beer-maker, which brews Becks and Stella Artois, is not an issue, but the EU wants to make sure that "there are no anti-competitive obstacles to trade in beer within the European single market."

"Keeping out cheaper imports of its beer from neighbouring countries would be both against the interests of consumers and anti-competitive," the Danish official added in a statement.

The Commission fears, after an initial overview, that AB InBev "may be pursuing a deliberate strategy to restrict trade of its beer from less expensive countries, such as the Netherlands and France, to the more expensive Belgian market."

AB InBev is in the final stages of completing a merger with its former main rival, South Africa's SABMiller.

As part of the process of getting clearance for the deal, all of SABMiller's European beer brands must be sold. Grolsch and Peroni have all been sold to Japanese brewer Asahi in a deal worth $3bn.

When the deal is completed one out of every three beers sold around the world will come from the group.