Ahead of the deadline to pay penalty, 10 out of 11 cement companies penalised for cartelisation have approached the Competition Appellate Tribunal for redressal.

Sources said the companies had approached the tribunal last week and the matter will come up for hearing on September 13. The major companies on which penalty was imposed included ACC Ltd, Ambuja Cements Ltd, UltraTech Cement Ltd and Jaiprakash Associates Ltd. The companies were fined in excess of Rs 1,000 crore each.

In June, the Competition Commission of India had imposed a penalty of Rs 6,307 crore on 11 cement companies for cartelisation.

All the 11 firms were fined 50 per cent of their average profit for fiscal years 2010 and 2011, the period for which they were investigated. The anti-trust watchdog, in its unanimous decision by all six members and Chairman Ashok Chawla, also imposed a token amount as fine on lobby group Cement Manufacturers’ Association (CMA). The commission investigated 39 cement companies on a complaint filed by the Builders Association of India, a lobby group of engineering and construction contractors.

The CCI asked the companies to deposit the penalty amount in three months’ time. It directed the the CMA to stop collecting information about prices, dispatches and products, and circulating it among its members.

It may be pointed out that cement stocks have been shedding between 5 and 15 per cent due to slowdown in economy and the real estate sector in particular. India’s cement market is the world’s second largest after China with an overall production capacity of 330 million tonnes annually.

bindu.menon@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on September 10, 2012)
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