With decision dated 10 March 2016, the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO/Bundeskartellamt) concluded the “rail cartel case” by imposing a fine just under EUR 3.5 million on Vossloh Laeis GmbH & Co. KG.
Having already fined eight rail manufacturers for being members of a market sharing and price fixing cartel back in 2013, the FCO found also Vossloh Laeis GmbH & Co. KG had been participating in this cartel to the detriment of local public transport companies, private, regional and industrial railways and construction companies.
In the years 2001 to 2011, several rail manufacturing companies made agreements on price and consumer protection in the product areas rails, switches and sleepers. During the period 2005 to 2011 Vossloh Laeis GmbH & Co. KG engaged in these agreements, whose sole purpose was to split tenders and projects among the different members of the rail cartel.
Due to the existing customer relationships and the knowledge about the respective customer preferences, it was foreseeable in many cases which of the companies was to be given the award. This company then would organize and coordinate the biding procedure, for example by telling the other members of the cartel which prices they should communicate to their customers in fake bids.
Whereas the proceedings against the other companies ended with fines amounting in total to almost EUR 100 million that had been agreed upon by the parties in the form of settlement, no such settlement could be reached with Vossloh Laeis GmbH & Co. KG. It is still important to note that the company’s cooperation with the respected authority throughout the proceeding had been taken into consideration with respect to the amount of the fine.