SIX CONSTRUCTION firms will have to pay €45 million, the highest fine ever imposed by the Anti-Monopoly Office (PMÚ), after the Supreme Court ruled that they signed a cartel agreement in 2006.

The court changed a verdict issued by the Bratislava Regional Court in December 2008, which had abolished the fine and dismissed all lawsuits filed by the construction companies, the SITA newswire reported on December 30.

The PMÚ punished six companies, Strabag, Doprastav, Betamont, Inžinierske Stavby, Skanska DS and Mota – Engil in 2006 for signing a cartel agreement connected to a public competition over the construction of the cross-country section of the D1 highway between Mengusovce and Jánovce, which is eight kilometres long. The companies coordinated their activities.

The PMÚ informed that it received information about the dubious practices from the procurer of the road, the National Highway Company. The companies offered suspiciously high sums for the construction work. Five companies united in two consortiums and participated in the competition, while one competitor ran as one bidder, the PMÚ said, as reported by SITA.

The three bids in the competition contained the complex of construction works whose cost was nearly 900 price-per-units. Based on an analysis the PMÚ learned that the proportions between the price-per-units contained very consistent data. The congruence was too much to be a coincidence and it had to be the result of a cartel agreement, according to the PMÚ.

Source: SITA

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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