U.S. Markets open in 2 hrs 40 mins

DP World asks court to halt antitrust probe at Mumbai port

By Aditya Kalra

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Dubai's DP World has asked an Indian court to halt an investigation into alleged antitrust violations at the country's largest container port in Mumbai, saying the regulator was seeking excessive information, a court document seen by Reuters showed.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) last year said it suspected antitrust violations by DP World and Denmark's A.P. Moller-Maersk at the terminals they operate at state-owned Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT).

The CCI's investigation followed a complaint by Singapore's PSA International Pte Ltd, which alleged that Maersk and DP World businesses created barriers to hinder the growth of PSA's terminal by colluding on certain charges they levy at JNPT.

In December, a Mumbai high court declined a DP World plea to quash the investigation. Last week, DP World again approached the court to halt the probe, according to a court filing dated Feb. 28 seen by Reuters.

The CCI's investigation unit had on Feb. 21 issued a "requisition notice" to DP World to provide information and documentation for conducting its antitrust investigation, the court filing showed.

DP World's said the requisition was "far in excess of the scope of investigation," according to the court filing from Feb. 28. DP World did not elaborate further.

A CCI source said the Mumbai high court had not halted CCI's anti-trust investigation.

DP World did not respond to a Reuters' request for comment.

DP World's unit, Nhava Sheva International Container Terminal, had previously said it found the CCI's decision to order an investigation was "arbitrary" and one that "would lead to gross discrimination and grave economic harm" on the business.

Handling 66 million tonnes of cargo in the last fiscal year to March, JNPT is critical to India's international trade and handles over half the traffic of shipping containers each year.

Units of A.P. Moller-Maersk, the world's biggest container shipping group, DP World and PSA operate four of the port's five terminals, with the fifth owned by the government.


(Reporting by Aditya Kalra; Editing by Martin Howell and Jane Merriman)