Penalties for contractors named by CMA set to run into millions of pounds

The Competition and Markets Authority has told those demolition firms who have admitted their involvement in bid-rigging that they will find out how much they will be fined by January.

In all, 10 firms were found guilty of bid-rigging, with seven of the 10 also accused of making and receiving ‘compensation payments’.

But two, Essex contractor Squibb Group and Erith, currently working on the demolition of 120 Fleet Street in the City of London, are contesting the provisional findings announced in June.


Erith is one of two firms contesting the CMA’s provisional findings announced in June

An announcement on the pair’s fate had been expected this month with the amount individual firms told to pay in fines also due to be disclosed at the same time, along with the CMA’s definitive findings on the investigation as well.

The cartel-buster said over the summer it was hoping to make public the levels of penalties this month.

But Building understands those eight firms which have acknowledged their involvement have now been told the decision will not be made for several more weeks.

One said: “We received a standard notification, telling us the decision will be December or January. That’s all we’ve been told.”

Another added: “I can’t see it being before Christmas. I think it will be the new year so the CMA can get maximum publicity. I don’t know what the hold-up is about but I can guess.”

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Squibb has previously said it had “a high degree of confidence that the CMA will take [its] submissions/concerns seriously”. Erith has not publicly commented on the CMA’s findings or its decision to contest them. Both were found guilty of bid-rigging and making or receiving compensation payments.

The CMA declined to comment but it is understood its case team is still “considering representations” from affected firms. Under a timetable on its website, it said it had earmarked the weeks between June and November this year as a period for “receipt and consideration of representations on the statement of objections”.

So far, five firms have publicly said what the investigation is expected to cost them in penalties.

Careys has put the figure at £9m, Keltbray £6m while McGee, which along with Careys “reported their involvement in the conduct under the CMA’s leniency policy”, has said it expects the number to be no more than £2.4m.

John F Hunt has gone further, saying in its report and accounts filed at the end of May, that the “investigations have now been settled with the liability agreed at £5.6m”. And Cantillon owner Morrisroe said in August the cost of its involvement with the bid-rigging probe could hit close to £2m.