New Delhi: In a big blow to top cement firms, competition watchdog CCI Thursday slapped a hefty Rs 6,307 crore penalty on 11 companies, including ACC, Ambuja Cements, Ultratech and Jaiprakash Associates for price cartelisation.
The maximum fine was imposed on Jaiprakash Associates at Rs 1,323.6 crore followed by Aditya Birla Group's Ultratech Cements (Rs 1,175.49 crore), Ambuja Cements (Rs 1163.91 crore) and ACC (Rs 1,147.59 crore).
The other companies found guilty are Grasim Cements ( now merged with Ultratech), Lafarge India, JK Cement, India Cements, Madras Cements, Century Textiles and Binani Cements.
The fine was fixed at 50 percent of their profit during 2009-10 and 2010-11. The industry body Cement Manufacturers Association (CMA) has also been fined Rs 73 lakh. They have been directed to deposit the penalty within 90 days.
"The act and conduct of the cement companies establish that they are a cartel. The Commission holds that the cement companies acting together have limited, controlled and also attempted to control the production and price in the market in India," CCI said in its 258 page order.
Reacting to the CCI order, CMA and some of the affected cement manufacturers said they would decide on the future course of action after reading the order. A law firm representing ACC and Ambuja Cements said "in all likelihood they would go in for appeal before tribunal".
CCI found "cement manufacturers in violation of the provisions of the Competition Act, 2002 which deals with anti-competitive agreements including cartels".
The order was passed following probe by Director General (Investigation) on complaint filed by Builders Association, which has hailed the order saying "it was long-pending and the penalty could have been higher". As per the law, the fine can go even up to 300 percent of net profit.
First Published: Thursday, June 21, 2012, 19:25