New Delhi: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Thursday imposed a penalty of 171.55 crore and 2.26 crore on Eveready Industries India Ltd and Indo National Ltd (Nippo), respectively, for indulging in anti-competitive practices in the zinc-carbon dry cell battery market in India.

The penalty was levied on the battery manufacturers at the rate of 1.25 times of their profit for each year from 2009-10 to 2016-17.

However, no penalty was levied on Panasonic Energy India Co. Ltd as it had approached the anti-trust regulator as a whistle-blower, disclosing the details of their cartel that indulged in price coordination, limiting production/ supply as well as market allocation from 2008.

A penalty of Rs1.85 lakh was levied on the Association of Indian Dry Cell Manufacturers, or AIDCM at the rate of 10% of average of its receipts for preceding three years, for facilitating the anti-competitive practices by collating and disseminating data pertaining to sales and production by each of the battery manufacturers.

Additionally, a penalty of 10% of the average of income for preceding three years was imposed on certain individual officials or office bearers of the three battery manufacturers apart from AIDCM.

“It is noted that in the instant case the cartel continued for a period of more than six years. The manufacturers had a clear agreement/understanding to increase price of zinc-carbon dry cell battery...," a 39-page CCI order read.

The order was passed in a suo-moto proceeding based on the disclosure by Panasonic in May 2016 under the Competition Commission of India (Lesser Penalty) Regulations, 2009. The lesser penalty regulations provide incentives for entities who pro-actively assist CCI in busting cartels.

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