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Construction cartel: Cartel Court fines STEINER BAU EUR 1.3 million at AFCA’s request

Following a request submitted by the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (AFCA), the Cartel Court imposed a fine of EUR 1.3 million on STEINER BAU Gesellschaft m.b.H. (hereinafter referred to as “STEINER BAU”) based in the Lavant Valley in Carinthia.

On the 30th of January 2024, the AFCA requested a fine at the Federal Cartel Court (press release of the 31st of January 2024). The Federal Cartel Court has fully granted the application.

STEINER BAU was directly involved as a joint participant in anti-competitive price fixing and price coordination, market divisions and the exchange of information with competitors in relation to public and private construction tenders, particularly construction projects in Carinthia and individual specific projects in Styria. The infringement occurred during the period from at least December 2005 to June 2017.

The decision is final.

STEINER BAU cooperated with the AFCA outside the leniency programme to fully clarify the facts of the case, acknowledging the infringement for use in proceedings before the Cartel Court. The AFCA therefore applied for a reduced fine.


The uncovered cartel relates to the economic sector of construction, with a focus on road building projects.

The infringement covers the entire Austrian territory, albeit to varying degrees depending on the company involved. Both public and private clients were affected. A large number of construction projects were impacted, which is why the AFCA’s investigations are still ongoing. Some of the proceedings have meanwhile been finally concluded.

The companies involved in the infringement engaged in concerted action in order to help each other to win construction contracts, thereby securing market shares and utilising their capacities accordingly. To reach this common goal, they engaged in illegal price fixing and market divisions, exchanged competitively sensitive information – relating for example to agreements on future behaviour when submitting bids – and in some cases they formed anti-competitive working groups and bidding consortia.

The involved companies also agreed on which bidder should win the contract, the price to be offered and the submission of bogus offers, as well as arranging that some competitors would not submit any bid at all.

FAQ Construction cartel update May 2024

For further information on and developments in the construction cartel, please refer to our FAQ Construction cartel UPDATE May 2024.

Fines for cartels

The Federal Cartel Act prohibits any behaviour that prevents or distorts competition. This covers price fixing agreements or the division of markets or territories. At the AFCA’s request, the Cartel Court may impose fines of up to 10% of an entity’s total turnover generated in the preceding business year if that entity is found to have breached the rules banning cartels. Fines are determined on the basis of the gravity and duration of the breach, the degree of fault, and the economic strength and cooperation of the company concerned.