Firms fight bid-rigging fines_2

30 November 2009

1 December 2009 | Allie Anderson

Seven building companies have appealed against fines imposed by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) for their involvement in anti-competitive activities.

The Competition Appeal Tribunal is considering petitions by Kier Group (fined £17,894,438), GMI Construction (£1,752,584), Crest Nicholson (£5,188,848), GF Tomlinson (£1,269,270), Durkan Holdings (£6,720,551), Ballast Nedlam (£8,333,116) and Quarmby Construction (£881,749).

All want their infringements repealed or fines reduced or quashed. There is no deadline by which the OFT must respond.

The firms are among 103 fined a total of £129.5 million in September for bid-rigging. The OFT said this mostly involved “cover pricing”, where contractors colluded to fix a high price for a deal, leaving buyers with a false impression of competition.

The OFT reduced three other firms’ fines because it miscalculated their individual annual earnings. R Durtnell & Sons’ £711,115 fine was cut to £544,034; E Manton’s from £226,096 to £117,650; and Wildgoose Construction’s from £309,204 to £281,194.

● Paul Morrell, former partner at building consultancy Davis Langdon, has been appointed the government’s first chief construction adviser.

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