Competition fine with 203.6 million to the main Spanish construction companies

JAIME GARCIA

The National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC) sanctions Acciona (29.4 million), Dragados (57.1 million), FCC (40.4 million), Ferrovial (38.5 million) OHLA (21.5 million) and Sacyr (16.7 million) It blames them for having altered the public bidding system for 25 years by sharing information and strategies

07/07/2022

Updated at 09:37 a.m.

The National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC) announced this Thursday, in a statement, the imposition of a fine of 203.6 million euros on the six main Spanish construction companies for altering the system of public tenders for construction and civil works of infrastructures. Specifically, the regulator has reported that Acciona Construction, SA (29.4 million), Dragados, SA (57.1 million), FCC Construction (40.4 million), Ferrovial Construction (38.5 million) have been sanctioned , Obrascón Huarte Lain, SA (21.5 million) and Sacyr Construcción, SA (16.7 million). To this group of companies, Competition has attributed the exchange of technical and strategic information related to the presentation to public tenders. The Ministry of Transport, before Development, appears as the great victim of these behaviors. Sanctions can be appealed before the National High Court by filing a contentious-administrative appeal.

Despite the fact that this particular G6 was dissolved in 2017 and that the companies involved pointed out that these practices could go against the regulation, from Competition, they have highlighted that all these actions are a serious infringement of Law 15/2007 of Defense of Competition and Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (EU). In addition, they have added, that it has "harmful" effects since they affected public infrastructure such as hospitals, ports, airports and roads.

The regulator has explained the 'modus operandi' of this group of companies that, since 1992, held weekly meetings to analyze the public works tenders published by the State contracting platforms. In them, Competition has pointed out, they decided the contests in which they were going to be shared partially or totally the previous works to prepare the technical offers that were presented. What was commissioned to external companies.

weekly meetings

Any modification of these previous works had to have the approval of the rest of the companies in the group. "The only customization allowed was the inclusion of logos and names of each company in the joint document, to give the administrations an appearance of independence in the presentation of the offers", they have specified from the CNMC that highlights the progressive complexity of the cartel in the 25 years of existence.

In addition, in their weekly meetings, the regulator has also attributed to them the exchange of sensitive commercial information such as whether or not to attend in the form of a Temporary Union of Companies (UTE) and which companies would form them.

In this regard, from the CNMC, they have highlighted that all these exchanges of information between bidders is a breach of the so-called duty of single proposal and secrecy of the proposals. In addition, they have added, it eliminates the independence required of companies that participate in this type of competition.

Only in the case of building and infrastructure contracts such as hospitals, highways and airports during the period investigated could the technical offer account for 70% of the contest score compared to the 30% corresponding to the economic chapter.

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