UK trenching equipment cartel investigated

By Murray Pollok15 April 2019

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it had provisionally found that three rental suppliers of groundwork equipment formed a cartel to reduce competition and keep prices up.

The CMA is investigating M.G.F. (Trench Construction Systems), Vp plc and Mabey Hire Ltd. VP plc operates the Groundforce trenching and shoring rental business.


The authority said its provisional findings were that Vp and MGF operated the cartel for periods totalling nearly two years and that Mabey took part for a single period of five months. CMA said Mabey blew the whistle on the cartel and will not be fined, as long as it continued to cooperate with the investigation.

The firms can now consider CMA’s provisional findings and respond. The authority will consider any responses before issuing its final findings.

VP plc said in a statement that the investigation concerned only its Groundforce business and that it was reviewing CMA’s provisional findings “and will continue to cooperate fully with the CMA. The Group will make further announcements as appropriate.”

Michael Grenfell, the CMA’s Executive Director for Enforcement, said: “These are three major suppliers of equipment used to keep construction workers safe. It is crucial that builders and their customers benefit from genuinely competitive pricing for this essential equipment.”

Latest News
Palfinger hydraulic equipment for electric trucks
Electric trucks are on their way and loader crane manufacturer Palfinger is adapting in partnership with ZF and Mercedes-Benz Trucks
JLG’s New Perspective goes live
The hybrid online and live event took place in the UK earlier this month 
Video: Practical uses of BIM
Speaking at the Construction Technology Summit 2022, Dr Marzia Bolpagni, Senior BIM Advisor at Mace, looks at the practical uses for BIM in construction