Competition authorities in Pakistan have slapped a fine of about US$7m on 20 cement companies found guilty of operating as a cartel and raising prices under mutual agreement, official documents show.
A copy of the judgement given by the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) and posted on its website (www.mca.gov.pk) said each company has been asked to pay penalties equivalent to 7.5 per cent of their last annual turnover, which amounts to PKR6.352bn.
The companies penalised include leading players Lucky Cement, DG Khan Cement, Fauji Cement and Maple Leaf Cement.
"While the likely financial benefit derived from this infringement is difficult to estimate, it is likely to have contributed substantially to the profitability (of the companies)," the judgement said.
Analysts and an industry official said there would probably be a long legal battle before the fine could be recovered.