Trading standards body will announce action on construction bid-rigging enquiry in third quarter of 2009

The Office of Fair Trading has delayed its decision on what action to take over its bid-rigging enquiry until as late as September.

It had previously indicated it would make an announcement of any fines over its investigation into cover-pricing and bid-rigging in June.

A spokesman for the organisation said: “We can confirm the OFT now expects to issue a final decision on the enquiry in the third quarter of 2009.”

The spokesman declined to explain why the decision had been delayed, saying it was a “complex, ongoing investigation.”

Last April the OFT accused 112 construction companies of being involved in various bid-rigging activities, primarily cover pricing, where companies put up a fake bid for work they don't want to win in order to please potential clients. Nine firms were accused of making “compensation payments” to unsuccessful tenderers.

Under UK law the OFT can fine firms up to 10% of their annual turnover for breaches of the 1998 Competition Act.