India’s biggest cement makers have formed a cartel to fix prices via phone calls and emails: regulator


India’s Competition Commission has finalized a report on its investigation into the alleged cement cartel operating in the eastern and southern regions of the country, people knowledgeable have said. CNBC-TV18.

The CCI opened the investigation in 2019.

No less than 20 cement companies and manufacturers’ associations have been under the CCI scanner. The CCI alleged that these companies engaged in anti-competitive behavior and cartelization, sources said.

The investigation also found evidence of price fixing. He claims to have found evidence of price-fixing via phone calls, emails as well as WhatsApp messages, the sources added.

The investigation revealed that ACC Limited, UltraTech Cement, Dalmia Cement, Shree Cement, NUVOCO Vistas Corp Ltd and Ambuja Cements engaged in anti-competitive agreements, sources said.

The CCI has asked the cement manufacturers and the industry association to submit their response in this regard by early August.

What is cement cartelization?

Cartels arise in the industry when competitors agree to control the price in agreement with each other. The direct impact is on buyers. When all manufacturers raise the cost simultaneously, customers have no choice but to buy the product. Cartels also act as a barrier for new market entrants. Moreover, the absence of competition due to price fixing directly affects innovation.

Background

The CCI had started examining cartel complaints in the cement industry in 2019. The following year, it raided the five main cement companies. He carried out the searches simultaneously in several offices across the country and seized electronic and physical data, pieces of equipment and materials. The agency had also hired private computer experts to decode the data collected during the seizure.

First post: STI

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