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Facade construction cartel: AFCA applies to Cartel Court for imposition of an appropriate fine on Riegerbau GmbH

In the course of its investigations into the facade construction sector, the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (AFCA) filed another application with the Cartel Court on 20 December 2023 to have the company Riegerbau GmbH fined for anti-competitive conduct.

When the Vienna Regional Office of Criminal Investigation (LKA Wien) carried out criminal investigations into companies suspected of certain offences in 2017 and tapped their phones, it found that several invitations to tender for facade construction services appeared to have been the subject of systematic anti-competitive horizontal collusion and the exchange of competitively sensitive information. Based on the recorded telephone conversations, which the AFCA received from the WKStA, the AFCA then conducted dawn raids at several facade construction companies together with the LKA Wien in 2019.

Following a clarifying law amendment in relation to administrative assistance, these were the first investigations into suspicious activities conducted by the AFCA on the basis of phone recordings. The investigations were successful, not least thanks to the excellent working relationship with the LKA Wien.

NFS Bau GmbH, a competitor, was fined EUR 54,000 by the Cartel Court at the request of the AFCA in autumn 2022 (see press release of 18 November 2022). In summer 2023, the AFCA filed an application to impose a fine of EUR 63,000 on a further competitor, Simsek Bau (see press release of 7 June 2023). Both companies have acknowledged the infringement, with the involvement of the Federal Cartel Prosecutor, bringing the proceedings to an amicable conclusion.