In this Roundup, we highlight the main developments in Indian competition law in August 2020.
LPG Cylinder Cases Closed
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) closed two cases of alleged cartelization by manufacturers of LPG cylinders in response to tenders floated by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL).1 The investigating Director General (DG) had found that certain of the opposite parties had colluded in fixing prices and were therefore in breach of Section 3 of the Competition Act, 2002 (Competition Act). The CCI referred to the judgment of the Supreme Court in the Rajasthan Cylinders case,2 in relation to another order involving LPG Cylinders, where the Court held that LPG cylinder manufacturers had demonstrated that parallel pricing was not the result of a concerted practice but stemmed from the oligopsonistic structure of the market where the buyers determined the price they would pay.
In these two cases too, BPCL had negotiated with the bidders and had decided the price at which the tenders were to be awarded. The CCI stated that this was a market largely driven and controlled by oil marketing companies (including BPCL) and the LPG cylinder manufacturers had to adhere to the framework and tender conditions stipulated by the buyers; there was no scope for innovation, efficiency gains or product differentiation and price discrimination.
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