Norway road asphalting companies face major fines / News / The Foreigner

Norway road asphalting companies face major fines. NCC and Veidekke face penalties totalling millions of kroner for breaking anti-competition regulations. The scandal first appeared in January this year when it was reported NCC Roads and Veidekke were pretending to compete on government tenders for road-surfacing works in mid-Norway. Veidekke representatives chose to approach the Norwegian Competition Authority (NCA) themeselves about the matter, following blackmail attempts by a former director threatening to blow the whistle on internal irregularities. Both companies were collaborating on a price-fixing racket which took place over a 13-year period. The scam, which Veidekke alleges involved two employees, swindled the government for millions of kroner, keeping figures artificially high and closing out the competition. Veidekke fired director Odin Kringen, who subsequently appealed against unfair dismissal but lost.

nccroads, koloveidekke, odinkringen, asphaltingfraud, roadsurfacing, price-fixing, norwegiancompetitionauthority



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Norway road asphalting companies face major fines

Published on Thursday, 20th October, 2011 at 15:22 under the news category, by John Price   .
Last Updated on 21st October 2011 at 05:17.

NCC and Veidekke face penalties totalling millions of kroner for breaking anti-competition regulations.

Asphalting (illustration photo)
Asphalting (illustration photo)
Photo: Seth Russell/Picasaweb


The scandal first appeared in January this year when it was reported NCC Roads and Veidekke were pretending to compete on government tenders for road-surfacing works in mid-Norway. Veidekke representatives chose to approach the Norwegian Competition Authority (NCA) themeselves about the matter, following blackmail attempts by a former director threatening to blow the whistle on internal irregularities.

Both companies were collaborating on a price-fixing racket which took place over a 13-year period. The scam, which Veidekke alleges involved two employees, swindled the government for millions of kroner, keeping figures artificially high and closing out the competition. Veidekke fired director Odin Kringen, who subsequently appealed against unfair dismissal but lost.

Following lengthy investigations, the NCA has decided to fine both companies a total of 435 million Norwegian Kroner for violating competition laws.

NCA Director General Christine Meyer explains the decision, saying. “We take the extensive illegal cooperation we have discovered very seriously. They did the same with contracts for the City of Trondheim [in Trøndelag County]. In addition, they shared competitively sensitive information in connection with a bid in Møre og Romsdal in 2006.”

NCC, which was fined 165 million Kroner, says the fine was excessive. However, it accepts the Authority’s findings as to Trøndelag, alleging it was the work of staff no longer employed at the company.

“It is regrettable that a former employee has premeditatedly acted completely in contravention of the company’s values and rules,” said head of business for Norway Peter Gjørup. “Such actions risk seriously damaging the company and the entire industry.”

According to a Veidekke press statement, the Competition Authority could exempt it from the 270 million kroner fine on condition it “cooperates fully with the NCA and no information is presented indicating Veidekke has given the Authority misleading or incorrect information.”

It states this was "because Veidekke informed the Competition Authority about the illegal cooperation and contributed to solving the case."

The NCA stresses its decision is not final, and both companies have until 09 December to submit their comments.



Published on Thursday, 20th October, 2011 at 15:22 under the news category, by John Price   .
Last updated on 21st October 2011 at 05:17.

This post has the following tags: nccroads, koloveidekke, odinkringen, asphaltingfraud, roadsurfacing, price-fixing, norwegiancompetitionauthority.





  
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