NCC faces €22 million cartel fine

By Helen Wright17 October 2011

The Norwegian Competition Authority (NCA) has told road building contractor NCC that it faces an SEK200 million (€22 million) fine for price fixing in the asphalt paving sector.

The NCA had been investigating Norway's largest asphalt contractors, Kolo Veidekke and NCC Roads, for possible illegal collusion since the start of 2010.

The NCA also said that it had found evidence that Veidekke had breached its antitrust laws, but the company is set to avoid financial penalties after meeting NCA legal conditions for full leniency.

Veidekke notified the Authority of the matter in January 2010, and the company has co-operated fully with the probe.

However, Viedekke said it had been notified that the NCA was "considering a decision directed at the company for breach of competition laws in Kolo Veidekke's operations in Central Norway in 2005 to 2008 and a single violation in Møre and Romsdal in 2006."

"The Competition Authority stated notice that the investigation has revealed incidents associated with two individuals' actions, and that it does not give grounds to assert that these irregularities are evidence of a widespread wanton culture in Veidekke," the company said.

Excessive penalty

Meanwhile, NCC said it admitted to some circumstances of collusion which it claimed were undertaken by a single, rogue employee. However, the company denies other instances of collusion cited by the NCA, and said it considered the €22 million penalty "excessive".

Business area president of NCC Roads Göran Landgren said, "It is regrettable that a former employee has premeditatedly acted completely in contravention of the company's values and rules. Such actions risk seriously damaging the company and the entire industry."

NCC has six weeks to refute the NCA's version of events before the authority arrives at a definitive ruling on the matter.

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