More cartel fines

24 April 2008

The Dutch Competition Authority (Nma) has imposed fines of € 4,5 million on 14 civil engineering companies and nine businesses in the installation engineering sector.

According to the Nma, the construction companies participated in cartel activities between 1998 and 2001 (CE, May 2005). The installation engineering firms have also been accused of taking part in price and bid rigging between 1998 and 2000 (CE, October 2005).

The penalties follow on from more than € 140 million of fines handed down to 500 construction and installation engineering companies last year under an accelerated procedure specially developed by the Nma to allow companies involved to admit their participation collectively and quickly. Under the fast-track scheme companies benefited from a -15% reduction in fines but cases were not heard individually.

A total of 344 companies from the civil engineering and infrastructure sector opted for the accelerated procedure, while 155 from the installation engineering sector underwent the procedure. Of these 6% and 4% respectively have not been fined because the Nma has been unable to determine that they had participated in the price and bid rigging.

The 23 companies fined this month chose not to participate in the accelerated programme but do have the right to appeal against the penalties. According to the Nma, the fines must be paid within 13 weeks.

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