Introduction
Facts

Decision


Introduction

The German Federal Cartel Office (BKartA) has taken legal action against four Dortmund construction companies (Höhler GmbH & Co KG, Möckel Bauunternehmung GmbH & Co KG, Möllmann Straßen- und Ingenieurbau GmbH + Co KG and Stra-La Bau GmbH) and imposed a fine of approximately €1,000,000 for unlawful agreements in the award of road construction contracts by the city of Dortmund.

A fifth company, Gehrken Straßen- und Tiefbau GmbH & Co KG, which also participated in the cartel, was not fined because it filed a leniency application and revealed the cartel to the BKartA.

The other four companies also cooperated with the BKartA. Therefore, it was possible to reach an amicable conclusion to the proceedings with all parties involved.

Facts

The tenders concerned both individual orders and time or maintenance contracts:

  • In the case of individual contracts, numerous individual items must be calculated and priced in the bid.
  • Time or maintenance contracts are contracts in which the city and the respective company agree on the maintenance of structures over a fixed period.

In the present case, for individual contracts, the cartelists determined the price at which the bid was to be submitted. With the time contracts, they agreed on the markups and markdowns to be applied to the cost estimate (provided by the city of Dortmund) to submit the best bid.

Decision

According to the BKartA's investigations, the companies regularly held meetings to exchange information about the current tenders of the city of Dortmund in road construction work and their interest in participating in them. During these meetings, the companies frequently agreed on which of them should submit the best bid and on what terms. Part of the agreements was also that the other cartel participants deliberately submitted more expensive, protective bids.

Andreas Mundt, president of the BKartA, explained that the agreements affected several hundred tenders of the city of Dortmund in road construction work in the years 2012 to 2018 with a total contract volume of around €18 million. "The construction companies awarded the contracts to each other", he said.

As the notices against the cartel participants have already become final, the decision is binding on the companies involved regarding the determination of the infringement in any proceedings for damages.

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