JK Tyre, others face Competitors Fee of India investigation

New Delhi, October 16

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is investigating JK Tyre & Industries Ltd after a state government accused the company of bid rigging, and the probe has been expanded to other firms, according to sources and legal filings.

Rigging bid: Next hearing on October 28

  • Haryana has alleged JK Tyre was the sole bidder in the tender in 2018 and its prices were around 34% higher than previous purchase rates
  • A finding of bid-rigging could lead to a potential fine of up to three times the profit in each year prices were fixed by the companies, or 10% of annual revenue, whichever is higher

  • JK Tyre, which has a market value of $190 million, says it accounts for 30-36% of the market for different types of tyre variants that is worth some $9 billion annually

The CCI last year ordered a probe after the northern state of Haryana said JK Tyre employed unfair trade practices while bidding to supply tyres for public transport vehicles, a court filing showed.

The case details and CCI’s initial assessment were contained in a September 19 state court filing made by JK Tyre contesting some of the watchdog’s demands. The filing has not previously been reported and the CCI does not disclose current probes into cartel cases. According to documents in the filing, Haryana told the CCI that JK Tyre was the sole bidder in a tender and quoted high prices. The watchdog in November ordered a probe saying “non-participation by other tyre manufacturers” was suggestive of a “concerted act to rig the bid”.

A JK Tyre spokesman declined to comment “as the matter is currently sub judice.” In August this year, the CCI decided the role of other tyre firms should be examined and expanded its scrutiny to include Apollo Tyres, CEAT, MRF, and the Indian units of Michelin and Continental AG, two sources familiar with the case said. It was not immediately clear whether the CCI has approached those tyre firms with inquiries. — Reuters

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