CMA fines construction suppliers £15m for breaking competition law

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Following an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), two UK-based companies who supply groundworks products have been fined more than £11.2m and £3.7m

The two companies are Vp plc and M.G.F. (Trench Construction Systems) Ltd.

Findings

The CMA found that the companies colluded illegally to reduce competition and maintain or increase prices. This involved sharing confidential information on future pricing and commercial strategy.

They also coordinated their commercial activities to reduce uncertainty, including monitoring each other’s prices and challenging quotes they deemed too low.

The CMA has found that illegal collusion between Vp and M.G.F. lasted for periods totalling nearly two years, and a third groundworks company, Mabey Hire Ltd, took part for a single period of five months.

Mabey has not been fined as it brought the illegal activity to the CMA’s attention and fully cooperated with the investigation, under the CMA’s Leniency Programme.

Crucial to the country’s economy

Michael Grenfell, executive director of enforcement at the CMA, said: “Today’s announcement shows that the CMA continues to crack down on illegal cartel behaviour and protect consumers.

“The CMA will not tolerate illegal conduct which weakens competition and keeps prices up at the expense of consumers.

“This is the fourth time in the last two years that the CMA has fined a cartel in the construction sector.

“It is essential that the sector, which is crucial to the success of our country’s economy, can benefit from a competitive marketplace to deliver value, innovation and quality.”

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