Competition watchdog fines precast firms £36m
Three companies have been landed with fines totalling more than £36m after they were found to have broken competition law in relation to the supply of precast drainage products by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
The Northern Ireland-based firm FP McCann Ltd is facing a fine of more than £25m for its part in the scheme. Derbyshire-based Stanton Bonna Concrete and Somerset-based CPM Group will have to pay more than £7m and £4m respectively.
The fines follow an investigation by the CMA which found that between July 2006 to March 2013 the three firms agreed to fix or coordinate their prices, shared the market by allocating customers and regularly exchanged competitively sensitive information.
The arrangements involved meetings attended by senior executives from each of the firms and the CMA recorded a number of these meetings and used them as evidence when arriving at its final decision.
Both Stanton Bonna Concrete and CPM Group’s fines were reduced after they both accepted that they broke competition law.
In calculating the fines, the CMA took into account factors including the seriousness and duration of the infringement, turnover in the relevant market and any mitigating and/or aggravating factors.
Andrea Coscelli, the CMA’s chief executive, said: “These companies entered into illegal arrangements where they secretly shared out the market for important building products and agreed to keep prices artificially high. This is totally unacceptable as it cheats customers out of getting a good deal.
“The CMA will not hesitate to issue appropriately large fines in these cases and we will continue to crack down on cartels in the construction sector and in other industries.”