NCC to pay following Norwegian court ruling

By Sandy Guthrie30 November 2015

Swedish contractor NCC is having to find SEK84 million (€9.1 million) extra after the Supreme Court of Norway ruled as inadmissible an appeal relating to illicit asphalt collaboration in Trøndelag, Norway, between 2005 and 2008.

As a result, the case has been closed. NCC said the ruling implied that it would be required to pay SEK150 million (€16.3 million) for the competition infringement. It said it had previously made a provision of SEK66 million (€7.2 million) and the remaining SEK84 million would be charged against its earnings for the fourth quarter of 2015.

NCC said an individual at the company had been engaged in illicit collaboration with a competitor. It described the action as disloyal and said it was in breach of instructions and guidelines for the company’s business operations.

Eric Thunegard, senior vice president for legal affairs at NCC Roads, said, “NCC has a comprehensive compliance programme and we do not tolerate infringements of competition laws or our own internal, ethical guidelines. The person responsible for the illicit collaboration in Trøndelag no longer works for NCC.”

The Norwegian Competition Authority (NCA) told NCC in 2011 that it faced a fine over price fixing in the asphalt paving sector. It admitted then to some circumstances of collusion which it claimed had been undertaken by a single, rogue employee. However, it denied other instances of collusion cited by the NCA, and said it considered a €22 million penalty “excessive”.

In 2012, The Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA) said it planned to exclude NCC, as well as Veidekke – for which NCA also found evidence that it had breached antitrust laws – from competing for contracts in the Trøndelag region, which is in central Norway, for the course of 2012.

At that time, Viedekke was said to have avoided financial penalties after meeting NCA legal conditions for full leniency.

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