Swedish road cartel fined € 49,5 million

19 March 2008

Stockholm's district court has handed out fines totalling SEK 461 million (€ 49,5 million) to a group of six companies found guilty of operating a cartel in the Swedish road building sector between 1997 and 2001. The largest fines were given to Skanska – SEK 170 million (€ 18,3 million), NCC – SEK 150 million (€ 16,1 million) and Peab – SEK 85 million (€ 9.1 million). The Swedish Competition Authority had originally pushed for fines totalling SEK 1,2 billion (€ 129 million).

All three major companies have said they disagree with the Court's ruling, and Peab and Skanska say they are considering an appeal against the decision. NCC however has been more bullish, and has already announced an appeal in which it will ask for a full exemption of its fine.

NCC's senior legal counsel, Ulf Wallin told CE, “The City Court has not taken NCC's arguments into account. The actions taken by NCC facilitated the Swedish Competition Authority's investigations in a decisive manner and the City Court should have weighed this into its judgement.

“In addition, the amount is unreasonably high in view of the City Court's confirmation that there was no underlying general agreement to divide up all central and local government paving procurements, and that it was instead a local phenomenon that occurred over just a few years.”

According to NCC its own investigations in early 2001 uncovered an illegal inter-company collaboration on contracts in Linköping in Southern Sweden. It subsequently dismissed several employees and reported the matter to the police. A subsequent investigation by the Competition Authority uncovered further infringements.

NCC argues that it should be exempt its fine on the grounds that it reported the cartel itself, and submitted evidence and its own investigation findings to the Competition Authority.

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