September 22, 2009
Construction firms nailed for bid-rigging
Britain's Office of Fair Trading has fined 103 construction companies $211 million after a four-year investigation of anti-competitive contract bidding.
Officials said the companies were involved in
illegal anti-competitive bid-rigging activities, between 2000 and 2006, including submitting inflated bids for public sector contracts, a practice called
However, the fines were viewed as far less than they might have been.
Bearing in mind the huge resource the OFT has thrown at this four-year case "¦ this is not a massive fine, said Watson Burton attorney Tristan Meears-White, who represented 14 of the construction companies.
With the construction sector already hurting from the recession,
I think, politically, it would have been difficult "¦ if this decision had led to 50 or 60 of these companies going under. They are big employers, Meears-White said.
Some of the larger fines were levied on Balfour Beatty, fined $8.4 million, Carillion, fined $8.6 million and Ballast Nedam, fined $13.5 million, the OFT said.