CCI slaps penalty on paper manufacturers for cartelisation


The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has issued a final order against certain companies manufacturing paper from agricultural waste and recycled wastepaper along with an association, which were found to have contravened the provisions of the Competition Act proscribing anti-competitive agreements.

The case was initiated suo motu by the Commission on the basis of certain materials found during the ongoing investigation into two other cases. Although the DG investigated 21 original paper manufacturers and the association, it only recorded findings of contravention of the provisions of the Act against 10 such paper manufacturers and the association. The period of cartel was noted by the DG to be from September 2012 till March 2013.

The CCI found these companies and an association which provided its platform for such activities to have indulged in cartelisation in fixing the prices of writing and printing paper.

In this backdrop and further considering that during the pandemic, most businesses moved to the virtual mode thereby reducing the need for paper, affecting the paper business, CCI imposed a symbolic penalty of Rs 5 lakh each on the 10 paper manufacturers found guilty of cartelisation.

Further, a penalty of Rs 2.5 lakh has been imposed on the association for providing its platform for anti-competitive activities.

Apart from this, the CCI also directed the paper manufacturers and the association, and their respective officials who have been held liable in terms of the provisions of Section 48 of the Act, to cease and desist in the future from indulging in anti-competitive conducts.