The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is examining complaints, which state that India’s container glass market may yet again be monopolised if another large player is allowed to take over one of the country’s largest glass manufacturers Hindusthan National Glass (HNG), sources told businessline.

HNG, which is now itself on the block, had turned into a virtual monopoly in the container glass market when it acquired sick units of Owens Brockway in 2003, units of Larsen and Toubro in 2005 and Haryana Sheet Glass in 2007.

HNG’s insolvency resolution started in January 2022 but ran into controversy after the Committee of Creditors (CoC) selected a large bidder that lacked CCI approval.

The complaint states that combination of HNG and one of the current bidder will have combined market share of more than 60 per cent in container glass industry which clearly violates competition law. AGI Greenpac and Independent Sugar Corporation (INSCO) are the two bidders.

“The CCI is studying the summary of transactions filed before it. Primarily, the transactions filed relate to liquid packaging but HNG is into manufacturing container glass, which is different from liquid packaging. So the CCI would be studying the impact of the acquisition of HNG into container glass rather than liquid packaging,” the sources said.

Controversies surrounding HNG

HNG has turned out to be among the most controversial insolvency and acquisition cases in the glass industry. businessline reported earlier that HNG employees had written to CoC led by a consortium of banks, about how a giant ageing glass melting furnace plant could impact the safety of thousands of workers due to a delay in the corporate insolvency resolution process (CIRP).

Employees have told CoC that the dis-functioning or shutdown of HNG’s Puducherry plant could hit the financial feasibility of the insolvency process. Due to draining furnaces and plant closure, HNGIL was fast losing its underlying value and therefore the probability of executing the submitted resolution plans.

Also, employees say their last wage settlement due in 2014 is also pending after it was done more than a decade ago in 2010. The employees had raised concerns about CoC selecting a bidder that had no CCI clearance.

Also, Punjab’s Member of Parliament from the Congress party has written to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman citing employees’ concerns about HNG and the delay in concluding the insolvency process. The letter by Dr Amar Singh has highlighted an alleged faulty selection of resolution applicants by the CoC and the resolution professional.