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Published:  23 July, 2008

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has closed its investigation into Bacardi-Martini, following assurances from the drinks producer that it would not enter into or maintain exclusivity arrangements with pubs and bars. The dispute centred on Bacardi's white rum brand Carta Blanca and agreements it allegedly made with on-trade premises to be the sole brand available. These agreements contravene the Competition Act 1998. The investigation was launched in early 2000 after a complaint was received from the National Union of Students (NUS) in relation to a three-year exclusivity deal that stipulated Bacardi was to be the only rum served in NUS outlets. John Vickers, the director general of Fair Trading, said: The assurances remove the competition problem that prompted the investigation and should widen competition opportunities in the market. It would not be appropriate, in the circumstances of this case, to devote more resources to it.' A spokesman for Bacardi-Martini said: Bacardi maintains that it at no time breached competition law, and has sought to demonstrate that its promotional support arrangements reflect the intensity of competition between spirits suppliers.'