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by Graham Black  |  Wed 06 Feb 2019

Drainage Products Cartel

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has provisionally found that three drainage product manufacturers broke competition law by co-ordinating prices for customers and sharing the market.

Two of the businesses – Derbyshire-based Stanton Bonna Concrete Ltd and Somerset-based CPM Group Ltd – have admitted breaking competition law by taking part in a cartel, which started in 2006 and continued for almost seven years. A third company, FP McCann Ltd, headquartered in Northern Ireland, is also under investigation and has not made any admissions.

The CMA provisionally finds that the companies held regular secret meetings to set up and operate an illegal cartel. Its aim was to fix or co-ordinate prices and share out the market for certain pre-cast concrete drainage products in Great Britain, with the intention of increasing prices and reducing competition. These products are used in large infrastructure projects across Great Britain, including water management, roads and railways. Typical customers include engineering and construction companies, utilities providers, and local and national government.

As part of a settlement process, Stanton Bonna and CPM have admitted to participating in the alleged cartel and have agreed to pay fines, which will be determined at the end of the CMA’s overall investigation. FPM is not part of this settlement and, at this stage, no assumption can be made that it has broken the law.

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