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India's leading cement shares dip on US$1 billion price-fixing fine

MUMBAI -- Shares in India's leading cement companies fell Friday after the country's competition watchdog fined 11 firms a combined US$1 billion for price fixing.

The Competition Commission of India announced the order on Thursday against companies including ACC, Ambuja Cements Ltd. and Ultratech Cements, following an investigation into their conduct dating back to 2010.

The commission said it found the companies had been limiting and controlling supplies of cement and fixing prices “through an anti-competitive agreement.”

This was not only bad for consumers, “but also to the whole economy since cement is a crucial input in construction and infrastructure industry vital for economic development of the country,” the commission added.

The fines totaled 60 billion rupees (US$1.05 billion) and the companies were given 90 days to pay up.

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