The Competition Appellate Tribunal of India has set aside a US$945m penalty imposed on 11 cement firms by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) on accusations of cartel behaviour and asked the fair trade regulator to hear the matter afresh. The Tribunal also allowed the cement manufacturers to withdraw the 10 per cent penalty amount already deposited with the CCI, according to local press reports.
The judgement follows appeals filed by the cement firms and their industry body, the Cement Manufacturers Association, against the two CCI orders passed in June-July 2012. The cement producers included ACC, Ambuja Cements, Binani Cements, Century Textiles Ltd, India Cements, JK Cements, Lafarge India, Madras Cements, UltraTech Cement, JP Associates and Shree Cements.
The CCI had passed the orders after an investigation into complaints, including from Builders Association of India (BAI), against alleged price collaboration between cement firms.
The orders were later challenged at the Competition Appellate Tribunal, which ordered that "the impugned order is set aside and the matter is remitted to the CCI for fresh adjudication of the issues relating to alleged violation" of the relevant sections of the Competition Act."