India fines 10 cement companies for creating cartel
The final order has been passed by CCI pursuant to the directions issued by Competition Appellate Tribunal remanding the matter back while setting aside the original order of CCI. The information in the present case was filed by Builders Association of India against the cement companies and CMA alleging contravention of the provisions of the Act.
While holding the cement companies and CMA in contravention of the Act, it was noted by CCI that the cement companies used the platform provided by CMA and shared details relating to prices, capacity utilisation, production and dispatch and thereby restricted production and supplies in the market, contravening the provisions of the Act.
Further, CCI also found the cement companies to be acting in concert in fixing prices of cement in contravention of the provisions of the Act.
Accordingly, penalties of Rs. 1147.59 crores (ACC), Rs. 1163.91 crores (ACL), Rs. 167.32 crores (Binani), Rs. 274.02 crores (Century), Rs. 187.48 crores (India Cements), Rs. 128.54 crores (J K Cements), Rs. 490.01 crores (Lafarge), Rs. 258.63 crores (Ramco), Rs. 1175.49 crores (UltraTech) and Rs. 1323.60 crores (Jaiprakash Associates Limited) have been imposed by CCI.
In addition, a penalty of Rs. 0.73 crore has also been imposed on CMA. While imposing penalties, the Commission noted the action of the cement companies and CMA as being not only detrimental to the interests of consumers but also as detrimental to the whole economy, as cement is a critical input in construction and infrastructure industry – and thus vital for the economic development of the country.
The cement companies and CMA have been directed to cease and desist from indulging in any activity relating to agreement, understanding or arrangement on prices, production and supply of cement in the market. ■