Massive concrete fines will send shockwaves thorugh demolition sector.
News that three companies in the concrete products sector have been fined a total of £36 million for their part in a price-fixing ring will send shockwaves through the UK demolition sector. The fines have been imposed by the Competition and Markets Authority which is thought to be investigating as many as six UK demolition companies for alleged collusion.
Following an investigation CMA, the Northern Ireland-based firm FP McCann Ltd is facing a fine of more than £25 million for its part in the scheme. Derbyshire-based Stanton Bonna Concrete Ltd and Somerset-based CPM Group Ltd are due to pay more than £7.0 million and £4.0 million respectively. The fines have been imposed after the CMA found that the companies broke competition law by taking part in an illegal cartel covering Great Britain. From July 2006 to March 2013, they agreed to fix or coordinate their prices, shared the market by allocating customers and regularly exchanged competitively sensitive information.
These arrangements continued for nearly seven years and involved meetings attended by senior executives from each of the firms. The CMA recorded a number of these meetings and used them as evidence when arriving at its final decision.
“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,” says Andrea Coscelli, the CMA’s Chief Executive. “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.”
Speaking exclusively to DemolitionNews last week, National Federation of Demolition Contractors’ CEO Howard Button said that the CMA investigation could “jeopardise the whole industry“. If any demolition companies are found guilt of similar financial irregularities and fines of a similar size were levied against UK demolition firms, Button’s fears could be realised.