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Finding "no sufficient evidence" of cartelisation, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has closed a case against asbestos cement-sheet manufacturers.
The fair trade watchdog took up the matter by itself, back in late 2012, following reference from the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) which had received a complaint against the entities.
The commission had looked into whether the manufacturers of asbestos cement sheets (ACS) formed a cartel under the garb of ACPMA (Asbestos Cement Products Manufacturers Association).
Disposing of the case, CCI said, "There is not sufficient evidence to hold that the manufacturers of ACS" have contravened fair trade norms.
"Since there is no evidence on record to suggest cartelisation by ACS manufacturers, the matter is disposed of accordingly," the order, dated February 11, said.
The complaint to the SFIO had alleged that ACS manufacturers have formed a cartel under the garb of their association and have been able to control production volume and sales price.
There was also allegation that the association was forcing members to close their plants to control production.
Citing detailed analysis, CCI said movements in cost and price figures do not indicate any concerted action amongst the players.
"... The ACS industry is characterised by seasonal nature of demand owing to which there is high demand in some quarters correlated with higher prices.
"Thus, the Commission observes that the quarterly movement in the ACS product prices is due to seasonal demand and not due to concerted action amongst the players of the ACS industry," the order said.
In its report, the Director General observed that there are about 15 players in the industry and six of them are major players -- Everest Industries, Hyderabad Industries, Ramco Industries, Sahyadri Industries, UAL Industries and Visaka Industries.
"The major players who over the years 2008-12 had a market share of around 80-85 per cent in terms of production, installed capacity, sales in value as well as sales by volume and had moved within limited range," the order said attributing to the DG report.
In October 2012, CCI had ordered its Director General (DG) to investigate the matter and the probe report was submitted to the regulator in January this year.