Ireland-based materials producer CRH is facing a fine of CHF 34 million (€ 32 million) from the Secretariat of the Swiss Competition Commission (COMCO) for competition infringements in Switzerland’s wholesale market for bathroom fixtures and fittings. Fines totalling CHF 80 (€ 75 million) million have been imposed on members of the Association of Swiss Wholesalers of the Sanitary Industry.
The move follows an initial proposal in May from COMCO for fines of CHF 283 (€ 265 million) million for the industry, of which some CHF 119 million (€ 112 million) were to be imposed on CRH through the three subsidiaries it has active in the sector - BR Bauhandel, Gétaz-Miauton and Regusci Reco.
In noting that its current penalty, which is turnover-based, was 70% less than the initial proposal from COMCO, CRH issued a defiant statement.
“CRH is surprised at the unprecedented decision by COMCO not to publish the basis of its findings at the same time as informing the public of its decision, considering that COMCO had been reviewing and considering this matter for over 9 months.
“The basis of COMCO’s findings is expected to be available in four months, at which time CRH has the option to appeal the decision to the Federal Administrative Tribunal.
CRH continues to be of the view that the position of COMCO is fundamentally ill-founded and views the proposed fine as unjustified,” it said.