Vienna – For participating in the large construction cartel that was discovered in Austria a few years ago, the Strabag construction company faces a fine of €45.37 million euros.
The Federal Competition Authority (BWB) submitted the application to impose the fine on Wednesday at the Cartel Court, as the authority and the listed construction company announced. The authority applied for a reduced fine because Strabag had “continuously and comprehensively” cooperated in the leniency program. In addition, Strabag has introduced a certified compliance system in conjunction with a new type of monitoring system in order to prevent future violations of the ban on cartels, according to the BWB.
The construction giant emphasized that the two group companies Strabag AG and F. Lang u.K. Menhofer Baugesellschaft m.b.H. & Co. KG had fully cooperated with BWB. Strabag SE boss Thomas Birtel described it as “a great personal disappointment that the allegations turned out to be partly justified after intensive investigations”.
The fine is undeniably painful economically, but lessons have been learned from it. We are the first construction company in Austria to voluntarily introduce external monitoring, according to the CEO of the parent company.
Data material secured
The construction cartel investigations against numerous domestic construction companies, including Strabag AG, were initiated in the spring of 2017 . This was against the allegation of anti-competitive agreements on building projects in Austria between 2002 and 2017. At that time, the BWB carried out house searches as part of its investigations. Among other things, extensive data proof material is available.
The first communications of the objections to the companies concerned were issued in autumn 2019 – a formal step by the authority with which it informed the companies in writing of the objections against them. The BWB is conducting investigations against the other companies involved in the construction cartel, “which will promptly lead to further applications,” according to the authority.
The current fine does not allow any conclusions to be drawn about further applications of fines. As each individual case is examined – taking into account the severity and duration of the legal infringement, the fault and the economic efficiency as well as the cooperation of the company concerned.
If a violation is found, the BWB can impose fines of up to 10 percent of the total turnover achieved in the previous financial year. Source (APA, July 14, 2021)