The Federal Cartel Office (FCO) announced in a 10 February 2022 case report that it had imposed fines of approximately €7.3 million on two manufacturers of multi-profile bridge expansion joints (ie, transition structures for road bridges) for a prohibited quota cartel.

The FCO and the State Prosecutor's Office in Braunschweig jointly raided the companies' premises and private residences in January 2019 following reports from the market.

The FCO found illegal quota agreements between the two companies regarding the distribution of multi-profile transition structures for road bridges in Germany from 2004 to 2019. The quota agreement had been implemented using an additional price agreement.

On 19 October 2004, representatives of the companies met and agreed that the market shares that existed at that time should be maintained and the companies should be provided with the quota in the future. On the same day, the responsible persons at the companies agreed that a price formula should be used, at least in principle, to calculate the prices for multi-profile transitional constructions.

Staff would meet to monitor the implementation of the agreements; for example, the sales staff made a quota adjustment for significant quota deviations during year-end meetings. In some cases, excessively high bids were submitted to ensure that the other company was awarded the contract in order to fulfil the quotas again. The bid prices were also disclosed to the other party so that it could make a lower bid.

In addition to allocating specific balancing projects in case of significant quota deviations, the sales staff divided among themselves for future quota compliance the contracts that had not yet been awarded to their companies.

The sales staff regularly calculated their bid prices for the multi-profile transitional constructions using an agreed price formula. In accordance with the agreement, they added a surcharge of 2% to 8% to this price, which enabled them to grant a discount in the estate negotiations with the construction company.

For further information on this topic please contact Sascha Dethof or Paulina Stemmler at Fieldfisher (Germany) LLP by telephone (+49 211 950 749 0) or email ([email protected] or [email protected]). The Fieldfisher (Germany) LLP website can be accessed at