Indian cement companies hit with US$ 1.1 billion fine

By Helen Wright25 June 2012

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has announced fines of more than INR 6000 crore (US$ 1.1 billion) on 11 cement manufacturers as well as the country's Cement Manufacturers Association (CMA) after exposing cartel activity in the sector.

The companies involves are Holcim subsidiaries ACC and Ambuja Cements, Lafarge India, Ultratech Cements (part of Aditya Birla Group), Grasim Cements, which is now merged with Ultratech Cements, JK Cements, India Cements, Madras Cements, Century Cements, Binani Cements and Jaypee Cements.

The CCI launched an investigation into the sector in 2010 after receiving information from the Builders Association of India. The authority said the cement companies had co-ordinated on the price and supply of cement in the Indian market in order to raise demand and prices - activities it claimed harmed both consumers and the Indian economy.

The penalty for each company was fixed at half its profit for 2009 and 2010, and payment must be made within 90 days. However, some have denied the allegations and said they would challenge the fine.

Holcim said ACC and Ambuja Cements has been fined CHF 194 million (US$ 202 million) and CHF 196 million (US$ 204 million) respectively. In a statement, it said its subsidiaries denied the allegations and would pursue all available legal steps to defend them. Ultratech is also reported to have denied the charges.

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