CCI Dismisses Complaint against Alcohol Manufacturer and Distributor

On October 16, 2019, the CCI dismissed allegations of violations of Sections 3 and 4 of CA02 against Pernod Ricard India Private Limited (‘PRIPL’), filed by Mr. Ashok Suchde (‘Informant’).[1] The Informant was the proprietor of Vyn Marketing (having registered office in Mumbai). PRIPL was engaged in the manufacturing, sale and distribution of various alcoholic products in India.

The Informant submitted that his enterprise, Vyn Marketing, was a service provider for PRIPL for a period of ten years. Vyn Marketing and PRIPL entered into an agreement dated December 19, 2016, whereby Vyn Marketing was to provide marketing and sales assistance to PRIPL. However, it is alleged that on November 3, 2017, PRIPL abruptly terminated the agreement without giving the due notice period required under the agreement. Subsequently, PRIPL engaged the services of ZK Marketing to carry out the same services that Vyn Marketing provided to PRIPL. The Informant alleged that ZK Marketing was engaged for the services despite not having any prior experience in the relevant field, solely because its officers were persons belonging to political parties. The Informant further alleged that such decision was taken by PRIPL with the motive to gain an unfair advantage as it would be able to receive kick-backs from ZK Marketing in lieu of dealership. The Informant submitted that such an agreement ought to be considered anti-competitive under Section 3(4) of CA02.

The CCI noted that the primary issue of the Informant pertained to the fact that PRIPL had terminated the agreement with Vyn Marketing and engaged another entity in its place. The CCI was unable to find any competition issues or concerns which were arising out of the case, which could be examined within the framework of CA02. Accordingly, the CCI was of the view that no case of contravention was made out, either for Section 3 or Section 4, and dismissed the complaint under Section 26(2) of CA02.

[1] Ashok Suchde v. Pernod Ricard India Private Limited, Case No. 25 of 2019.

Published In:Inter Alia Special Edition- Competition Law - November 2019 [ English
Date: November 11, 2019