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Portugal sanctions another firm and its manager for cartel in railway maintenance services

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Christian Fernsby ▼ | July 1, 2019
Futrifer Indústrias Ferroviárias
European businesses   Futrifer Indústrias Ferroviárias

The AdC in Portugal imposed fines totalling 300.000,00 euros on Futrifer Indústrias Ferroviárias and one of its managers for participating in a cartel in public tenders in the sector of railway maintenance services.

Five railway maintenance providers colluded to present bids above the maximum price in a tender launched by Infraestruturas de Portugal (IP).

In a separate tender proceeding, the same companies had colluded to share between themselves the different lots in contest, in a cartel arrangement in existence during 2014 and 2015.

The earlier conclusion of the proceedings against Futrifer – Indústrias Ferroviárias, S.A. and its manager was possible due to the cooperation provided by this undertaking, which confessed its participation in the cartel and abstained from litigating, under a settlement procedure.

The use of this instrument is essential so as to hasten and simplify the proceedings whilst still sanctioning the companies that infringe competition the rules. Under the settlement procedure, the parties that confess to the facts and accept their share of responsibility in the infringement at issue, may benefit from a reduction of the applicable fine.

The AdC had already adopted, in December 2018 an April 2019, two prohibition decisions for the same infringements under a settlement procedure, regarding two other undertakings, imposing total fines of 1.271.886 euros.

The investigation is still on-going regarding the remaining two undertakings and their Board members and managers, in relation to which a statement of objections was adopted by the AdC on 13 September 2018.

The fight against cartels remains a top priority for the AdC, taking into account the losses that they invariably cause to citizens and to businesses, subjecting them to higher prices and reduced quality and variety of goods and services.

The infringement of competition rules not only reduces consumer welfare, but also weakens the competitiveness of companies, undermining the economy as a whole.

This investigation was opened by the AdC in October 2016, following a complaint submitted within the context of the Fighting Bid-Rigging Campaign launched by the AdC in 2016 addressed to public procurement entities.


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