Finnish authorities sue Lemminkäinen for €123 million

By Helen Wright18 September 2012

Finnish contractor Lemminkäinen and other members of an asphalt cartel in Finland that operated between 1994 and 2002 are facing a lawsuit from the municipal authorities that they worked for claiming damages.

The total amount sought from Lemminkäinen - which was handed the heftiest fine for its role in the cartel - is €123 million, according to the company.

In 2009, Finland's Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) handed down fines totalling €82.55 million to seven companies found guilty of operating the nationwide asphalt cartel over the eight-year period.

At that time, Lemminkäinen was fined €68 million, while VLT Trading was fined €4.8 million, NCC Roads €4.6 million, Skanska Asfaltti €4.5 million, SA-Capital €500,000, Rudus Asfaltti €100,000 and Super Asfaltti €50,000 million.

Now the €123 million claim for damages has been brought against Lemminkäinen by a total of 40 municipalities and the Finnish Transport Agency. The lawsuit was filed in the Helsinki District Court and claims that the restriction of competition during the cartel period resulted in inflated prices in the asphalt industry and caused them damages.

Johan Nybergh, vice president of legal affairs at Lemminkäinen, said, "At Lemminkäinen, we take violations of competition legislation very seriously. However, we do not consider that we have caused the municipalities and the state the damage they claim to have suffered, and thus in our view the claims for damages are without foundation."

Lemminkäinen said the court case was expected to be concluded in the summer of 2013.

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