Heineken’s pubs business has been fined £2m for repeatedly breached the legally binding Pubs Code over nearly three years.
Star Pubs and Bars, which operates the pub estate business of Heineken in the UK, had forcing pub tenants to sell 100% Heineken beers and ciders.
Pubs Code adjudicator Fiona Dickie said: “The report of my investigation is a game changer. It demonstrates that the regulator can and will act robustly to protect the rights that Parliament has given to tied tenants.
“I will be holding discussions with all the companies I regulate following my findings about how they will ensure they are Code compliant. My message is that if anyone previously had any doubts about my resolution to act when I find breaches, they can have no doubt now.”
The Pubs Code Adjudicator found a total of 12 repeat breaches.
“It failed to heed statutory advice, the PCA’s regulatory engagement and learnings from arbitration awards. It did not engage frankly and transparently with its tenants or meet the standards required of a regulated business when engaging with the PCA,” said Dickie.
“Where it did change its approach, the efforts it made to comply were for the most part inadequate and not credible.”
“The company must change its mindset and become proactive in its approach to compliance.”
The Pubs Code Adjudicator has given the pub group six weeks to provide a detailed response to how it will implement the suggested recommendations.