Flat glass maker under MRTPC scanner for alleged cartelisation

Flat glass makers, including Asahi India Glass, Saint-Gobian India and Gujarat Guardian, and their association AIFGMA have come under the scanner of anti-monopoly watchdog MRTPC for suspected cartelisation and price rigging.

The Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission has directed its investigative unit DGIR to look into the trading pattern of the industry and also the role of All India Flat Glass Manufacturing Association (AIFGMA) along with some leading members.

Taking suo moto cognizance over some news reports, MRTPC has directed Director General of Investigation and Registration (DGIR) to probe the issue and submit a detailed report within 90 days, sources in the commission said.

As per sources, the Commission suspects that some of the key players, including AIS, Saint-Gobian India and Gujarat Guardian (formerly Modiguard), which rules over a considerable share in the flat glass market, were influencing the price.

Newspaper reports have suggested that the glass makers were operating as a cartel since mid-nineties, and have been hiking prices and controlling supplies in the domestic market.

The sources added that MRTPC has also directed DGIR to see whether the big three manufacturers were indulging in similar practices for which they were fined 487 million (about Rs 3,000 crore) by the European Competition Commission in November, 2007.

Once investigation starts, the DGIR is expected to send probe notices to the companies and if found guilty of price rigging, the case would be referred to the Commission to begin judicial proceedings against them, the sources added.

Apart from the three MNCs, Allahabad-based Triveni Glass is another key player in the Indian flat glass industry, which is likely to come under MRTPC scanner, the sources added.

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