The Paris administrative court has rendered a total of 34 judgments ordering construction industry companies such as Bouygues Construction, Eiffage and Vinci to pay the SNCF between €123 and €129 million in compensation for damages it suffered from a price fixing agreement.
The companies were originally fined €60 million euros by the French competition authority in 1995 for price fixing agreements which took place during several tender procedures launched by the SNCF. These procedures included tenders for the construction of the high-speed line Paris-Lille-Calais (TGV Nord), the railway by-passing the city of Lyon and the cross-connexion of the railways in the Paris region (Ile de France). The appeals against this decision were all dismissed by the ‘Cour d’Appel de Paris’, and the SNCF eventually decided to claim damages before the administrative courts.
The Paris administrative Court considered that the winning bids were around 10 percent overpriced compared to what would have been offered in an effective competitive situation. The Court ordered the payment of the overall amount of €90 million for the surcharge in price, and between €33 and €39 million in interest. The 34 judgments do not provide for individualized amount of damages by participant but order the companies as a whole to pay damages by “lot” (i.e. by portion of railway). The companies may appeal these judgments before the end of May.