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Facade construction cartel: Cartel Court fines Simsek Bau GmbH

The Cartel Court has imposed a fine of EUR 63,000 on Simsek Bau GmbH following a request submitted by the AFCA.

On 7 June 2023, the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (AFCA) filed an application for a fine to be imposed on Simsek Bau GmbH. The company cooperated, acknowledging the infringement with the involvement of the Federal Cartel Prosecutor (see press release of 7 June 2023).

The Cartel Court fully upheld AFCA’s reasoning and imposed a fine of EUR 63,000. The AFCA had substantiated its claims by presenting evidence of price fixing and market divisions, as well as the exchange of other sensitive information between Simsek Bau GmbH and its competitors. The concerted practices concerned various construction projects and tenders in the facade construction sector. The anti-competitive conduct took place in and around Vienna and Lower Austria during 2017. The decision is final.


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 Central Public Prosecutor for Economic Crime and Corruption (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.

Proceedings against further competitors

The Cartel Court fined NFS Bau GmbH, a competitor, EUR 54,000 at the request of the AFCA in autumn 2022 (see press release of 18 November 2022). The AFCA filed an application for the imposition of an appropriate fine on another competitor, Rieger Bau GmbH, earlier this month (see press release of 18 January 2024). Both companies have acknowledged the infringement, with the involvement of the Federal Cartel Prosecutor, thereby bringing the proceedings to an amicable conclusion.