Tribunal stays CCI orders on cement cartelisation
Tribunal stays CCI orders on cement cartelisation

Tribunal stays CCI orders on cement cartelisation

The Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT) has stayed the order of antitrust regulator Competition Commission of India (CCI) against two entities which were found guilty of cartelisation. The orders were in favour of Jaiprakash Associates and the Cement Manufacturers´ Association (CMA).

Both the entities have to deposit 10 per cent of the penalties in fixed deposits of six-month duration with its registry.

On 7 November, COMPAT had similarly stayed CCI orders against Shree Cement and ACC Ltd. The cases may be heard next on 7 December.

Jaiprakash and CMA had appealed before the tribunal against CCI´s 31st August decision, which found 11 cement firms and CMA guilty of cartelization.

CCI had imposed penalties of Rs 1,147.59 crore on ACC, Rs 1,163.91 crore on Ambuja Cements, Rs 167.32 crore on Binani Cement, Rs 274.02 crore on Century Cement, Rs 397 crore on Shree Cements, Rs 187.48 crore on India Cements, Rs 128.54 crore on JK Cements, Rs 490.01 crore on Lafarge, Rs 258.63 crore on Ramco, Rs 1,175.49 crore on UltraTech Ltd and Rs 1,323.60 crore on Jaiprakash Associates. CMA was hit with a penalty of Rs 73 lakh.

LafargeHolcim increases its stake in ACC, Ambuja
It is one of the major deals by a promoter in the recent times. Holderind Investments, the investment company for the Switzerland-based LafargeHolcim, bought 78.7 crore shares of ACC, representing 4.2 per cent of the global cement major´s total equity capital. The average price in the deal was Rs 1,537, with the total deal valued at Rs 1,209 crore. The two transactions, managed by Axis Capital, were executed through block deals on the BSE. The sellers were a clutch of mutual funds, insurance companies and FIIs, sources said.

Post this deal, the total holding of Holcim in ACC has gone up to 54.3per cent. Of the 78.7-crore share block of ACC shares, Nomura India Investment Fund sold 9.86 lakh, or 0.5 per cent of the company at an average price of Rs 1,538 per share.

In another deal, Holderind Investments bought 3.91 crore shares of Ambuja Cements, which is nearly 2 per cent of the company´s equity capital, hiking its total holding in the company to 63.62 per cent .Despite the huge block being bought by the promoter of the two companies, the stock prices of ACC and Ambuja Cements, both closed sharply lower later in the day. Ambuja Cements lost 4.3 per cent to close at Rs 210 while ACC closed 3.7 per cent lower at Rs 1,347.Dealers said with the government demonetising Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes, there is a fear among investors that consumption-led sectors, which include cement, will suffer in the next two-three quarters, and hence the strong selling in these counters.

In a statement issued late on Tuesday from Zurich, LafargeHolcim said India was one of its key markets with ´very solid long term fundamentals and a clear potential for further improvement in business performance.´ The day´s share purchases in ACC and Ambuja Cements ´would further increase the group´s interest in its two strong companies which constitute a solid platform from which to capture future growth,´ the statement said. The purchase value will be financed by a CHF 325 million debt. Currently the group´s total annual capacity in India is 60 million tonnes.

Workers mobilize globally against LafargeHolcim human rights´ violations

The IndustriAll Global Union federation of workers in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas will mobilize and demand that LafargeHolcim respect workers´ rights because´Workers´ rights are human rights´.

Workforce at LafargeHolcim are holding a global day of action in advance of the 10 December International Human Rights Day to draw attention to the world´s largest cement maker´s widespread violations of workers´ rights.

Rights violations that the action will highlight include:

  • LafargeHolcim had 50 workplace fatalities in 2015, and workplace fatalities have dramatically increased in 2016.
  • The company is increasing its use of precarious employment around the world, even though its fatality rate among these workers is higher than with direct employees.
  • LafargeHolcim locked out and illegally replaced workers in British Columbia, Canada during an ongoing dispute after earlier this year illegally replacing workers during a strike in Quebec, Canada.
  • The company was accused this year of using child labour in Uganda, where reportedly it also specifically targeted union members for dismissal during restructuring.
  • LafargeHolcim has not remedied the unfair treatment of families who lost their land due to the development of a plant in the Ambuja region of India that the company now owns.
  • After reducing employee levels and increasing workloads in Indonesia, the company is responding to workplace accidents by disciplining and threatening to dismiss workers.
Unions are demanding that LafargeHolcim use less precarious work, cooperate better with trade unions on health and safety and restructuring, and enter into meaningful negotiations with them about the future of labour relations and social dialogue. ´Since Lafarge and Holcim merged last year, there have been numerous workplace fatalities, precarious work has increased, the company has recklessly restructured and manage¡ment has broken promises to reach a global agreement for a positive relationship with unions. We cannot wait any longer while our brothers and sisters die at work. LafargeHolcim workers around the world are standing up and demanding change,´ said
IndustriALL Global Union general secretary Valter Sanches.
´The right to decent work, safe working conditions and dignity are basic human rights that workers at LafargeHolcim should have; however, instead of respecting these fundamental rights, the company has repeatedly put corporate interests ahead of the rights of its workers. Today, on this global day of action LafargeHolcim workers will mobilize and show the power of the people by calling on the management to immediately adhere to their demands,´ said
Building and Wood Workers´ International general secretary Ambet Yuson.
´We expect that the world number one in the cement sector is not only number one in figures and cement sales, but also in labour standards and workers´ rights,´ said general secretary of the
European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW) Sam HSgglund.
´We think that this is also part of future benchmarking.
LafargeHolcim owes its workers the respect for their rights. We cannot understand why it took nearly one and a half years after the merger to negotiate a new joint European Works Councils Agreement, where European Workers´ Rights are defined, especially the right to information and consultation. We call upon LafargeHolcim management to enter into a real social dialogue about the future of this world number one in the cement sector.´
In Telangana, cement will be sold at Rs.230 per bag
An agreement (MoU) has been signed with 32 cement manufacturing companies by Telangana State Housing Corporation. As per the MoU, the cement companies will supply cement bag at Rs.230 per bag for the next three years to the housing corporation for the construction of two bedroom houses for the weaker sections. The MoU was signed in the presence of housing minister A Indrakaran Reddy, who termed the agreement as another step forward towards the construction of 2BHK houses.
With high cost of cement in the open market, the state government has negotiated with the cement manufacturing companies and prevailed upon them to supply each cement bag at Rs.230. Representatives of all the 32 cement manufacturing companies attended the programme.
Indrakaran Reddy thanked the cement companies for coming forward for supporting the 2BHK scheme as a social responsibility. The cement manufacturing companies agreed to supply the required quantity of cement bags within 48 hours of receiving indent from the district collectors. Indrakaran Reddy said it was estimated that the housing department requires 27.31 lakh tonnes of cement for the 2BHK scheme, a flagship programme of the state government. The minister said they would print a special label on these cement bags to avert possible diversion of the subsidised cement bags.
(Courtesy: www.industriall-union.org, Indian Express)
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