THE ANTITUST Bureau has announced fines against the construction firms which formed a cartel agreement while competing for the construction of a stretch of highway from Mengusovce to Jánovce.
The fines for the six companies total Sk1.349 billion (€40 million) making it the highest fine the bureau has ever imposed. The companies concerned are Skanska DS, Inžinierske stavby, Strabag, Doprastav, Betamont, and Mota Engil. The Mota Engil, Strabag, and Skanska DS companies received the highest fines (Sk418.18 million, Sk367.73 million, and Sk270.50 million respectively), the SME daily wrote.
The bureau considered the nearly identical prices in the companies’ bids as a crucial evidence of a cartel agreement. The bureau also proved that the firms communicated with each other about the price of this stretch of highway. The bureau started the procedure after the National Highway Company (NHC), which had originally announced the competition, filed a motion. NHC stopped the competition shortly after opening the bids because it suspected the companies had made an agreement.
However, the companies may still take part in similar competitions in the future. Marcel Jánošík, a spokesman of NHC, said it could be an ethical problem but it is not possible to stop the companies from doing so.