THE Government's decision to remove the excise duty on refined edible oil did not cut much ice with edible oil majors. The decision has not been exciting enough to propel a price cut in the markets, they claimed.

"The net impact of the duty cut would be negligible for large players with large advertising spends. The small players who do not advertise would stand to benefit a bit," said Mr Harsh Mariwala, MD, Marico Industries Ltd, while pointing that a price cut in edible oils is not expected.

The proposal to abolish excise duty of Re 1 per kg on refined edible oils and Rs 1.25 per kg on vanaspati was more in line with the demand of Solvent Extractor's Association of India to set a level-playing field with oil refiners and processors of Kutch, who have been exempted from duty.

"In reality there will be no change in prices, as the existing excise duty had already been discounted in view of the competition from Kutch players," said Mr Angshu Mallick, GM-Marketing, Adani Wilmar Ltd.On the other hand, Mr Mallick pointed out that keeping in view the current trend of increasing prices in commodities market, a price hike could be expected in immediate future. Our Bureau

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 2, 2005)
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