On 7 July 2022, the CNMC imposed a fine of €203.6m on the six main national construction firms for manipulating public tenders to build infrastructure over more than 25 years, between 1992 and 2017. On the same day, four of the six defendants (Ferrovial, Acciona, Sacyr and ACS) announced the initiation of an appeal procedure against the Decision
Between 1992 and 2017, the group of sanctioned companies (referred to in the decision as the “G7”) met weekly to analyze public works tenders that had been published on different state procurement platforms. Since Lantania, the seventh member of the group, was not an addressee of the Competition Authority’s procedure, the company and its subsidiaries were not sanctioned. At the meetings, the sanctioned companies decided which tenders would share part or all of the work that would make up their technical bids. The companies could not depart from the agreement without the knowledge and approval of the other members of the group.
In addition, during the weekly meetings, the companies exchanged sensitive commercial information (different than the knowledge necessary to share their work). For example, they shared their intention to bid or not to bid for tenders or their strategic temporary joint venture plans. The participants dissolved the group in 2017, expressly pointing at the anticompetitive nature of the agreements in their transcripts.
The infringement falls under Spanish and European competition law. Hence, the conduct affected the market for public procurement works contracts in infrastructures and public building, as well as residential buildings to a smaller extent.
The main affected individuals or companies identified in the Decision are the public administrations (including the Ministry of Public Works and its dependent bodies and related entities). They have the right to seek damages from national courts of EU member states.
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