Humphrey Kariuki. Image: Courtesy

The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) has denied renowned city tycoon Humphrey Kariuki license to exclusively import and distribute 214 premium wine and spirit brands including Bacardi-Martini labels.

In a statement, CAK indicated that the billionaire’s company, WOW Beverages, if allowed to exclusively import the brands would make it amass a lot of market power and lock out rivals at the expense of customers.

“The CAK has rejected an exemption application by WOW Beverages in which the firm was seeking to enter into exclusive distributorship agreements with seven international suppliers,” stated CAK.

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“The Authority is of the opinion that parallel imports, through legal channels, are likely to bring more benefits to Kenyan consumers, including the enhancement of intra-brand competition which often leads to lower prices.”

The company had initiated the distribution deals with Gallo Vineyards Inc (which trades as E&J Gallow Winery Europe), Vina San Pedro Tarapasca SA, Felix Solis Avantis SA, Afrique Interlink (PTY), Interlink (PTY) Limited, Edrington Group Limited and Tradall SA (Bacardi-Martini Group).

The multinationals were to appoint WOW to import, purchase, promote, exclusively distribute and sell their selected portfolio of products in the Kenyan market exclusively.

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