The National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC) investigates possible anti-competitive practices in the market of exploitation, conservation and maintenance of roads in Spain related to agreements and / or market distributions, as well as exchanges of commercial information between companies in the sector.
Between the 17th and the 20th of December, home inspections were carried out at the headquarters of several companies that operate in this market. These inspections are part of the investigation opened by the CNMC after having learned of the possible existence of an anti-competitive collusive practice by certain companies in the sector in relation to the manipulation of bids by public administrations.
Inspections are a preliminary step in the investigation process of alleged anti-competitive behavior and do not prejudge the outcome of the investigation or the culpability of the inspected companies. If, as a result, there are indications of practices prohibited by the Law on the Defense of Competition, the formal initiation of a sanctioning proceeding will be initiated.
For the CNMC, agreements between competitors constitute a "very serious" infringement of competition legislation, which may entailr fines of up to 10% of turnover total of the infringing companies. In this sense, the investigation of the cartels is one of the priorities of action of the organism, given the "special gravity" of its consequences on consumers and on the correct functioning of the markets.
In order to control this practice, the CNMC has the leniency program, which allows companies that are part of a cartel to benefit from the exemption from paying the fine, as long as provide evidence to enable detection. Likewise, a reduction in the amount of the fine that could be imposed if you provide information with significant added value to the commission will be made.