Judgment consistent with tribunal findings on Kier and John Sisk

Six further construction companies have had the fines imposed on them by the OFT for cover pricing reduced by 75%

In a judgment that was consistent with the findings of earlier appeals on the matter the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) this morning argued that penalties imposed by the OFT had been “excessive and disproportionate”.

Fines were reduced today on the following companies:

·        Apollo £2,150,536, reduced to £399,000 (-81.4%)

·        Galliford Try £8,333,329, reduced to £1,395,000 (-83.3%)

·        GF Tomlinson £1,269,270, reduced to £579,000 (-54.4%)

·        G&J Seddon £1,516,646, reduced to £492,000 (-67.6%)

·        Interclass£464,406, reduced to £324,000 (-30.2%)

·        Sol Construction £1,835,702, reduced to £744,000 (-59.5%)

None of these companies were contesting liability.

Alan Davis, a partner at Pinsent Masons who acted for Apollo and Galliford Try, said that today’s judgment showed that while cover pricing was “not at the most serious end of competition infringements, there were strong messages about its illegality” and that fines may be uplifted for deterrence purposes.

A statement from Galliford Try said: “Galliford Try does not condone any form of anti-competitive activity and continues to maintain a rigorous competition law compliance regime across all its businesses.”

As with earlier judgments the Tribunal found that the OFT should have levied fines on the basis of turnover for the year prior to the infringements, rather than prior to its decision.

Judgments on seven separate appeals have now been handed down by the CAT. On 11 March six construction companies, including Kier and John Sisk, had their fines reduced by up to 94%.

The largest monetary reduction was achieved by Kier, which will now have to pay less than £2m compared with the original fine it had faced of £17.9m.

While on Tuesday this week Durkan achieved a partial win, succeeding in having its cover pricing fine wiped out but not in its dispute over ownership of former subsidiary Concentra.