Competition authority requests stiffer fines for asphalt cartel

The Swedish Competition Authority (Konkurrensverket) has handed in an appeal to Stockholm District Court calling for stiffer fines for the companies found guilty last month of involvement in a major asphalt cartel.

The authority had initially elected not to submit an appeal before the official July 31st deadline – as the companies themselves had done – but has now had a change of heart.

“We are of the opinion the the Markets Court has good cause to reach a tougher verdict and provide clear guidelines for the establishment of penalty charges for anti-competitive practices,” said director general Claes Norgren in a statement.

In the July verdict, Stockholm District Court dished out fines to Skanska (170m kr), NCC (150 m kr), Vägverket Produktion (50m kr), Peab Sverige (50m kr) and Peab Asfalt (33m kr).

The authority is now calling for NCC, Peab Asfalt, Peab Sverige and the Swedish Road Authority (Vägverket) to be handed heavier fines. Skanska’s fine is to be upheld as the company has not chosen to appeal its punishment.

Six years have passed since the competition authority first received a tip-off that Sweden’s construction giants had reached an internal agreement to keep road-laying costs as high as possible.

The authority’s investigations resulted in what became the largest cartel trial in Swedish history.