In 1996, Conway (then known as McLane) submitted a complaint to the Spanish Competition, the Servicio de Defencia de la Competencia (“SDC”) authorities, alleging that the former public tobacco monopoly, Tabacalera (now known as Altadis) abused its dominant position by not allowing Conway to distribute Tabacalera tobacco brands. A 2002 SDC decision found that Tabacalera had a dominant position in the tobacco manufacturing market as well as the wholesale distribution market.
In the view of the SDC, even if Tabacalera's market share was lower than other competitors (Tabacalera held a 36 percent market share), it still held a strong position since it was once a national monopoly.
The decision obliged Altadis to supply its products to Conway on a non discriminatory basis, thereby allowing Conway to distribute its tobacco brands. Altadis was also fined