CCI imposes penalties on 7 cement companies for bid-rigging

New Delhi, Jan 19 (IANS) Fair play regulator Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Thursday said it has imposed penalties on seven cement companies for bid-rigging.

According to the regulator, the case pertains to a tender floated by the ‘Director, Supplies & Disposals’, Haryana, in the year 2012, for procurement of cement.

“The bid-rigging has been established from quoting of unusually higher rates in the impugned tender (than rates quoted in tenders of previous years), determining different basic prices for supply of cement at the same destination through reverse calculation,” the regulator said in a statement.

“The anti-competitive conduct was re-affirmed through SMS exchanged and calls made amongst the officials of the cement companies.”

The regulator disclosed that it has imposed fines on Shree Cement, UltraTech Cement, Jaiprakash Associates, J.K. Cement, Ambuja Cements, ACC and J.K. Lakshmi Cement.

“Penalty of Rs 18.44 crore, Rs 68.30 crore, Rs 38.02 crore, Rs 9.26 crore, Rs 29.84 crore, Rs 35.32 crore and Rs 6.55 crore has been imposed upon Shree Cement, UltraTech Cement, Jaiprakash Associates, J.K. Cement, Ambuja Cements, ACC and J.K. Lakshmi Cement,” the statement pointed out.

“The penalty has been levied at the rate of 0.3 per cent of the average turnover of the cement companies of preceding three years.”

The regulator elaborated that it also took note of potential delays which would have occurred in the execution of public infrastructure projects due to cancellation of the impugned tender, while imposing the penalties.

“At the same time, due consideration was given to factors such as peculiarity of the tender process which created uncertainty in procurement, total size of the impugned tender and competition compliance programmes put in place by some companies while determining the quantum of penalty,” the statement added.

–IANS

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