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CCI Raids BASF and Other Companies Over Alleged Vegetable Seeds Price Fixing

Shivam Dwivedi
Shivam Dwivedi
Vegetable Seeds Price Fixing
CCI Raids BASF and Other Seed Companies Over Alleged Vegetable Seeds Price Fixing

On Wednesday (September 8), India’s antitrust watchdog Competition Commission of India (CCI) raided local offices of several vegetable seed companies including a unit of Germany’s BASF in a case related to alleged price collusion, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. 

CCI officials raided the offices of BASF India along with three other vegetable seed companies in an operation across the country that included the satellite city of Gurugram near New Delhi, IT hub Bengaluru and the southern city of Hyderabad, as per sources. 

A spokesperson for BASF India confirmed the raids at Nunhems office, based in Gurugram. “We are yet to confirm the exact reason of the raid. We are strictly committed to high standards of legal compliance and business ethics. We will support the officials in every way possible,” she said. The CCI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Further details of the case and the raids were also not available, as the CCI does not make anything related to its investigations of alleged price cartels public. The names of the other companies being raided were not immediately clear.

In recent years, the antitrust watchdog has raided several companies in case of alleged price-fixing, including the likes of beer giant Carlsberg and commodities trader Glencore.

During such surprise raids, company officials are questioned and documents, as well as computer hard disks, are seized, which are analyzed by the watchdog later as its investigation progresses.

As per sources, BASF explained that its vegetable seeds business "is housed under a separate legal entity i.e., Nunhems India Private Limited, which is a 100% subsidiary of BASF SE, Germany and not part of BASF India Limited."

"Hence, we would like to clarify that the raids by CCI mentioned in the said News Report by Reuters have no connection, whatsoever, with BASF India Ltd," the company's clarificatory statement further read.

(Sources: Business Line)

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