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Hindustan Unilever mulls legal options after 2.23B rupee profiteering fine

Indian consumer goods company Hindustan Unilever Ltd. said Dec. 26 it will consider its legal options after the National Anti Profiteering Authority fined the company 2.23 billion rupees for profiteering.

Hindustan Unilever allegedly withheld 3.83 billion rupees worth of goods and services tax benefits from consumers after the rate fell to 18% from 28% in 2017, Live Mint reported.

However, the consumer goods retailer said in a statement it acted "in the spirit of the law" by passing on the benefits to customers through lower prices and larger products, a standard industry practice that it says the National Anti Profiteering Authority, or NAA, ignored.

The retailer added that "no methodology has been determined by NAA as required under law to determine if the benefit has been passed or not."

The NAA ordered Hindustan Unilever to deposit 314.5 million rupees in the central consumer welfare fund. It has already paid 1.6 billion rupees to the fund, according to Live Mint.

On Feb. 9, Hindustan Unilever agreed to pay 1.19 billion rupees in profiteering penalties to the Directorate General of Safeguards.

Hindustan Unilever is the Indian arm of consumer goods group Unilever, whose listed entities are Unilever PLC and Unilever NV.

As of Dec. 26, US$1 was equivalent to 70.07 Indian rupees.