Spain’s six major builders fined and restricted for collusion in bidding

MADRID, July 7 (Reuters)Spain’s antitrust regulator has fined six major construction companies a total of 204 million euros ($208 million) for colluding for more than 25 years in bidding for public projects, such as roads and airports.

The National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC) said in a statement on Thursday that it had also decided to ban companies from working with public authorities, although the duration and scope of the ban remain to be determined. .

The sanctioned companies are Dragados, part of ACS ACS.MCfined 57.1 million euros, FCC Construction FCC.MC fined 40.4 million euros, and Ferrovial Construccion FER.TM ordered to pay 38.5 million euros.

The others are Acciona Construccion ANA.MCfined 29.4 million euros, Obrasco Huarte Lain, who is part of the OHLA OHLA.MCfor 21.5 million euros, and Sacyr Construccion SCYR.MC for 16.7 million euros.

ACS, hit with the biggest fine, disagrees with the decision and will appeal, a spokesman said, declining to give further details.

Acciona, Sacyr, FCC and OHLA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Between 1992 and 2017, the companies met weekly to analyze the public projects they were considering bidding on and to plan a common strategy, sharing technical documents among themselves, the regulator said.

Their collusion has been socially damaging as it has affected thousands of building bids published by public authorities in Spain, leading to fewer and lower quality bids and putting competing companies at a disadvantage, he added.

The regulator called their actions a “very serious violation” of Spanish and EU competition laws that promote secret and independent bidding processes.

The six holding companies are Spain’s largest public works builders by market capitalization, worth a total of 40.4 billion euros, according to Refinitiv data.

($1 = 0.9811 euros)

(Reporting by Joan Faus, additional reporting by Tiago Brandao; Editing by Andrei Khalip and Tomasz Janowski)

((joan.faus@thomsonreuters.com;))

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