09 October 2006 | Paul Snell
Many UK companies feel they lose out on contracts abroad because their competitors offer bribes to win work, a survey has revealed.
According to International business attitudes to corruption, published today by risk consultancy Control Risks and law firm Simmons & Simmons, 22 per cent of UK businesses thought they had failed to win a contract abroad in the past 12 months because a competitor has paid a "kickback".
The report surveyed 50 companies in seven countries: Brazil, France, Germany, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, the UK and the US. Companies from Hong Kong were worst affected, with 66 per cent of respondents believing they lost business as a result of rivals paying inducements.
Contracts in the construction sector were the most commonly affected by bribes. The report said this was because of the high value of the contracts, which increases temptation, and that these contracts often involve government officials, who hold extensive power.
The survey also found that in 10 per cent of cases the cost of the bribe could equal half the total cost of a contract.
Last week, the Bribe Payers Index 2006, produced by Transparency International, an organisation that supports the fight against corruption, revealed that India, China and Russia were the countries most likely to offer a bribe when doing business abroad.