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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

French Company Saint-Gobain Faces Allegations of Anti-Competitive Behavior in India

Saint-Gobain is accused of abusing market dominance in coated glass products

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INDIA: India’s antitrust authority is investigating Compagnie de Saint-Gobain for alleged forced glass purchases by partners. A retired glass industry official filed a complaint with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) in May.

Saint-Gobain is accused of abusing market dominance in coated glass products and clear float glass, a smoothened variety used in windows, doors, and facades. The company holds a 44% share of the float glass market and 19% of the coated glass market in India, as per documents.

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Saint-Gobain denied any complaints or notifications and stated that the group conducts activities in compliance with competition laws.

The CCI has not responded to an inquiry for comments regarding cases filed or being investigated. Court documents show that Saint-Gobain negotiated agreements with glass processors, requiring them to buy glass exclusively or risk supply cuts. They also claimed that the corporation fixed pricing with clients like DLF, imposing unfair anti-competitive terms. DLF declined to comment.

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This is the second such action brought against Saint-Gobain in recent years. An investigation was launched when an Indian company filed an antitrust complaint against it in 2011, but the CCI determined two years later that the company had not abused its market position or engaged in exclusionary practices.

The Indian market is crucial to Saint-Gobain, as its CEO, Benoit Bazin, declared that it is flying, ranking as the third-largest market in terms of operating revenue and dominating the glass industry there.

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Additionally, it was stated in the complaint that Saint-Gobain gave “significant discounts” on items to glass processors or distributors who made only one purchase from the business and withheld supplies from those doing business with competitors, which hindered competition, according to the court records.

The CCI is presently conducting preliminary investigations into the allegations, according to reports.

According to the guidelines, the CCI has the authority to dismiss the complaint if it sees no validity in it, to seek input from the corporation, or – as the complainant is requesting – to order a full-fledged investigation by the investigations section. The agency typically takes up to three months to make its initial conclusion.

Saint-Gobain’s sales in India reached $1.51 billion in 2022, with 76 manufacturing facilities, sales offices, and a large distributor network, according to the company’s website.

Also Read: Investigations Target Corruption: Search Conducted at Paris 2024 Headquarters


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