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Six leading cement companies forming a 'cartel' under CCI scanner

Other cement players in different geographies could come under the watchdog's probe as the investigation widens

Veena Mani  |  New Delhi 

cement

The (CCI) in a preliminary investigation has found six leading have formed a cartel, this time in the northeastern region.

“In fresh investigations, six large manufacturing firms have been found to be forming a cartel,” a source close to the development said.

Other players in different geographies could also face scrutiny as the investigation widens.

The development has highlighted the competition watchdog’s focus on sectors that affect consumers directly. After penalising those involved in the auto ancilliaries cartel, the looked at health care. Cement is a sector under constant watch.

The competition watchdog had earlier imposed heavy fines on cement and the Cement Manufacturers’ (CMA). The Commission had imposed a penalty of more than Rs 60 billion on in 2012. In 2016, 11 and the cement were penalised Rs 67 billion.

Cement

The 2016 order was on the lines of the 2012 order on the same issue, imposing a penalty of 0.5 times of net profits. In these orders, and their had been accused of using a common portal to manipulate prices.

After having spotted a cement that had been formed in response to a tender of the in 2014, the had imposed a fine of Rs 2.06 billion on seven companies, including Ambuja and UltraTech last year.

Its order stated their anti-competitive conduct had been established by looking at phone calls and SMSes of the cement companies’ executives.

The companies have been directed “to cease and desist” from such activities. This order came on a complaint originally filed by the director, supplies and disposals, of the It was alleged that the had formed a and quoted higher bids.

This order is at the appellate stage now

First Published: Wed, February 14 2018. 01:11 IST
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