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Construction cartel UPDATE - AFCA files application to have five companies of the Gebrüder Haider Group fined

Application to fine Swietelsky filed with Cartel Court.

Statements of objections for two further groups of companies submitted.

In the course of its investigations into the Austrian construction industry, the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (AFCA) filed another application with the Cartel Court on 25 October 2022 to impose an appropriate fine on Gebrüder Haider Bauunternehmung Gesellschaft m.b.H., Gebrüder Haider & Söhne GmbH, Gebrüder Haider & Co Hoch- und Tiefbau GmbH, Haider - Steininger GmbH and Haider & Co Hoch- und Tiefbau GmbH (hereinafter “Gebrüder Haider”).

Five companies from the Gebrüder Haider Group have allegedly participated in a cartel committing illegal price fixing, market divisions and the exchange of information with competitors in relation to public and private construction tenders with the intention of reducing or excluding competition, helping each other to win construction contracts and thus securing market shares.

AFCA’s investigations unearthed more than 2,000 construction projects with alleged anti-competitive concerted practices over the period from 2002 to 2017. The contract volumes ranged from EUR 3,500 to EUR 61 million.

The arranged construction contracts covered both building construction and civil engineering projects. The civil engineering projects concerned for the most part road building projects, with some limited canal construction. The building construction contracts were for bridge construction, power station construction and other master builder projects.

Most of the construction projects were located in Lower Austria, with some single projects in Burgenland, Carinthia, Upper Austria, Styria, Tyrol and Vienna.

Application to fine Swietelsky AG filed with the court

As published in July 2022, Swietelsky AG has acknowledged the infringement. Following initial investigations, Swietelsky AG promptly approached the AFCA in the summer of 2017, the second Austrian construction company to have done so. Swietelsky AG has since cooperated continuously and fully under the leniency programme, allowing the complex and comprehensive facts of the case to be processed better and faster, also in relation to several other companies in the construction sector.

The AFCA has now applied to the Cartel Court to have the communicated fine of EUR 27.15 million imposed on Swietelsky AG, submitting the application on 27 October 2022.

Two further companies received statement of objections

In addition, statements of objections were served on two further companies. They may now submit their comments on these statements.

Please refer to our Construction cartel UPDATE/FAQs of October for further information on our current investigations, pending proceedings and all fines that have already been imposed (currently available in German only).