BASF India Ltd., in a clarification to the exchanges on Thursday, articulated that the news of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) officials' raids across India over alleged vegetable seeds price-fixing have "no connection" with the company.
Referring to the news report by Reuters dated September 8, 2021, 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.
According to the news report, India's antitrust watchdog on September 8 raided local offices of several vegetable seed companies including a unit of Germany's BASF in a case related to alleged price collusion.
CCI officials raided the offices of BASF India and at least 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, sources said.
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," the spokesperson told the news agency.
After Reuters published details of the raid, shares in BASF India extended losses to as much as 3.7%, before recouping some of them to close down 2.1% in Mumbai trading.
However, the names of the other companies being raided were not immediately clear.
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.
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.
Typically, during such surprise raids, company officials are questioned and documents, as well as computer hard disks, are seized, which are analysed by the watchdog later as its investigation progresses.
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