Competition Commission fines seven cement companies for bid-rigging

Competition Commission fines seven cement companies for bid-rigging

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has imposed a penalty of nearly Rs 206 crore on seven cement companies for alleged bid-rigging and cartelisation.

The companies impacted by the order are Shree Cement, UltraTech Cement, Jaiprakash Associates, JK Cement, Ambuja Cements, ACC and J K Lakshmi Cement. They have been penalised for violating competition norms with regard to a tender floated by a Haryana-based agency in 2012.

The regulator says that mobile text messages and calls made among the officials of the cement companies during the particular period also confirmed collusion.

CCI had earlier also imposed a fine on cement firms for anti-competitive business practices.

In a 120-page order, CCI said the seven companies violated competition norms and also directed them to "cease and desist" from such activities.

The regulator decided to slap penalties on the companies, equivalent to 0.3 per cent of their average turnover for three financial years. The total fine amounts to around Rs 206 crore.

UltraTech has been directed to pay a fine of Rs 68.30 crore, Jaiprakash Associates will pay Rs 38.02 crore. The fines on the others are - Shree Cement (Rs 18.44 crore), JK Cement (Rs 9.26 crore), Ambuja Cement (Rs 29.84 crore), ACC (Rs 35.32 crore) and JK Lakshmi Cement (Rs 6.55 crore).

The order has come on a complaint filed by the Director, Supplies and Disposals, Haryana, a procurement agency. It was alleged that the cement makers had formed a cartel and quoted higher bid prices for a tender floated in 2012. CCI had ordered a detailed probe into the matter in 2014.

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