Northern Ireland firm FP McCann Ltd facing penalty of more than £25m

The Competition & Markets Authority has continued its crackdown on construction cartels, fining three concrete drainage products firms a total of £36m for breaking competition laws.

Earlier this year the CMA launched a probe into suspected anti-competitive arrangements in the construction sector, with the watchdog subsequently revealing investigations across several parts of the industry.

Now, the CMA has revealed that Northern Ireland-based firm FP McCann Ltd is facing a fine of more than £25m for its part in the scheme.


According to its last set of results for the year ending December 2018, the firm had a turnover of £255m and made a pre-tax profit of £18m.

Derbyshire-based Stanton Bonna Concrete Ltd and Somerset-based CPM Group Ltd are due to pay more than £7m and £4m respectively.

Stanton Bonna, which filed its 2018 accounts earlier this month, had a turnover of £29m and narrowed pre-tax losses from £4m to £1.4m.

CPM Group, which is now part of materials firm Marshalls after it bought the firm last year, had a turnover of £27m and a pre-tax profit of £2.3m.

Two directors from CPM, Philip Stacey and Robert Smillie, who both worked at the firm throughout the period of price fixing, were banned due to the breach earlier this year.

The fines were imposed after the CMA found the companies broke competition law by taking part in an illegal cartel covering Great Britain.

From July 2006 to March 2013, they agreed to fix or coordinate their prices, shared the market by allocating customers and regularly exchanged competitively sensitive information.

These arrangements continued for nearly seven years and involved meetings attended by senior executives from each of the firms. The CMA recorded a number of these meetings and used them as evidence when arriving at its final decision.

Andrea Coscelli, the CMA’s chief executive, said: “The CMA will not hesitate to issue appropriately large fines in these cases, and we will continue to crack down on cartels in the construction sector and in other industries.”

Last year, two of the three firms, Stanton Bonna Concrete Ltd and CPM Group Ltd, both accepted that they broke competition law by engaging in these arrangements.

Under the CMA’s provisions for leniency and settlement processes, they have received reductions to their fines.