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Four construction firms involved in cartel excluded from tenders

THE NATIONAL Highway Company (NDS) has excluded four construction companies - Skanska, Doprastav, Strabag and Inžinierske Stavby - from participating in ongoing procurement tenders over their involvement in forming a cartel when competing for a highway construction order in a public tender over the Mengusovce-Jánovce stretch of the D1 cross-country highway, the Etrend.sk website reported on April 16.

THE NATIONAL Highway Company (NDS) has excluded four construction companies - Skanska, Doprastav, Strabag and Inžinierske Stavby - from participating in ongoing procurement tenders over their involvement in forming a cartel when competing for a highway construction order in a public tender over the Mengusovce-Jánovce stretch of the D1 cross-country highway, the Etrend.sk website reported on April 16.

The construction companies confirmed that they have received letters to that effect from the NDS.

“At the moment we are considering other steps,” Doprastav spokesperson Michal Krajčír told the TASR newswire when responding to the NDS decision.

The NDS said it would not comment on ongoing tenders.

The Antitrust Office (PMÚ) fined six construction firms, Doprastav, Strabag, Skanska, Inžinierske Stavby, Mota – Engil and Betamont, in 2006 for forming a cartel when competing for the highway construction order in the public tender for the Mengusovce-Jánovce stretch of the D1 cross-country highway. The decision was upheld by the Supreme Court at the end of 2013, with the verdict valid on March 20, 2014.

The construction firms received a fine totalling €45 million. The Public Procurement Office (ÚVO) subsequently put forth a measure suspending these companies from public competitions. It, however, has not gone into effect yet due to a series of legal complaints which were subsequently filed by the companies, TASR wrote.

According to Etrend.sk, the NDS has now turned to ÚVO over what to do with current tenders. ÚVO reportedly responded that the state-run highway company can do whatever it deems appropriate. Subsequently, the NDS excluded the four aforementioned companies from ongoing tenders. Other entities running public procurements, however, do not know what to do with their tenders and are waiting for a binding resolution from ÚVO with respect to the affected companies.

There are currently three open procurements in which the concerned firms are involved. One concerns the D1 motorway stretch between Lietavská Lúčka and Dubná Skala (both Žilina Region) with the Višňové tunnel. The lowest bid was offered by a consortium of Skanska and Strabag (€338 million), followed by a Doprastav-led consortium (€383 million).

Another competition concerns the D3 highway stretch in northern Slovakia between Žilina-Strážov and Žilina-Brodno, with the lowest bid represented by Skanska (€190 million), followed by a consortium of Eurovia and Hochtief (almost €255 million).

The third tender concerns the construction of the R2 express double-carriageway stretch from Zvolen to Pstruša (in Banská Bystrica Region). It was again the Swedish company Skanska that submitted the lowest bid (€88.6 million), ahead of a consortium of Corsan Corviam Construccion and Chemkostav (€88.6 million), TASR wrote.

Source: Etrend.sk, TASR

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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