Competition Commission slaps Rs398-cr penalty on Shree Cement

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has imposed a penalty of Rs397.51 crore on Shree Cement Ltd even as it found 11 cement companies in the country indulging in restrictive trade practice

Shree Cement has been asked to pay fine at the rate of 0.5 times of its profits for the years 2009-10 and 2010-11, which aggregates to Rs397.51 crore.

The CCI had launched an inquiry against 11 cement manufacturers and their trade association, the Cement Manufacturers Association (CMA) of India. The CCI order, issued today, found 11 cement manufacturers, including Shree Cement Limited and the CMA contravening the provisions of the Competition Act, 2002, which deal with anti-competitive agreements, including cartels.

As the cement companies (except Shree Cement Limited) were already found to be in cartel in an earlier probe and penalised by the CCI, the commission decided not to order remedies, including imposition of penalty on such companies again for the same period of contravention.

The inquiry was based on a case received on transfer from the Office of the Director General (Investigation & Registration) of the erstwhile Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission under section 66(6) of the Competition Act, 2002.

The MRTP Commission had initiated the investigations on the basis of press reports published in a business daily as well as on a letter of Builders Association of India.

The commission directed Shree Cement to cease and desist from indulging in any activity relating to agreement, understanding or arrangement on prices, production and supply of cement in the market.