ACC, Ambuja to challenge CCI order before COMPAT

NEW DELHI, June 22: Swiss major Holcim, which has a controlling stake in ACC and Ambuja Cements, today said it would challenge the order of competition watchdog CCI which imposed penalty for forming price cartel.

“…Each of ACC and Ambuja Cements contests allegations and findings against them in CCI’s order and will pursue all available legal steps to defend their respective position,” Swiss major Holcim said in a statement.

However, it added that if any employee found breaching the group’s code of conduct that prohibits anti-competitive practices would be subject to disciplinary action, including termination of job.

In separate filings to BSE, ACC and Ambuja Cements said they would appeal against the order to the Appellate Tribunal.

As per the rules and regulations, the affected companies would be served with the orders of CCI within next 7-10 days. The companies can challenge the order within 60 days from the receipt of the order.

Yesterday, CCI imposed a whopping Rs 6,307 crore fine on 11 leading cement makers for forming price cartel. Industry body CMA was also fined with Rs 73 lakh.

The maximum fine was imposed on Jaiprakash Associates at Rs 1,323.6 crore followed by Aditya Birla Group’s Ultratech Cements (Rs 1,175.49 crore), Ambuja Cements (Rs 1163.91 crore) and ACC (Rs 1,147.59 crore).

The other companies found guilty are Grasim Cements (now merged with Ultratech), Lafarge India, JK Cement, India Cements, Madras Cements, Century Textiles and Binani Cements.

Besides Acc and Ambuja, Aditya Birla Group’s Ultratech had yesterday said: “The company will take appropriate action after having fully examined the order”.

India Cements had also dismissed the CCI order as baseless and said it has been found guilty without any proof.

“We are extremely disappointed with the order passed by the CCI. There was no basis to arrive at conclusions that our company has indulged in cartelisation and anti competitive practices. Unfortunately, without any proof we have been found guilty, against which we shall be taking legal recourse,” The India Cements had said in a statement.

Century Textiles and Industries also said it would take appropriate action after going through the order. (PTI)

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