The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) suspects 18 road construction companies of entering into cartel agreements in relation to three asphalt plants in which they participate. NMa has drawn up a report in which it sets out the reasonable suspicion that the construction companies have coordinated the activities of the three asphalt plants.
The 18 construction companies entered into agreements with regard to the price of asphalt, the planning and the distribution of asphalt production, and the investments and divestments in relation to the asphalt plants in question. The agreements relate to the years 1998 up to and including 2002.
The construction companies, which were involved in the cartel agreements relating to these asphalt plants, in relation to which the report was drawn up are: Ballast Nedam Infra Noord Oost B.V., BAM NBM Wegenbouw NoordOost B.V., Gebr. Van Kessel Participatie Maatschappij B.V., Gruno Wegenbouw B.V., HBG Civiel B.V., Hollandsche Wegenbouw Zanen B.V., Jansma Wegen en Milieu B.V., Koninklijke Sjouke Dijkstra & Zn B.V., Koninklijke Wegenbouw Stevin B.V., Koop GWW B.V., Oosterhof-Holman Infra B.V., Reef Beheer B.V., Roelofs De Hondsrug B.V., Van der Wal Infrastructuur B.V., Verhoeve Groep Noord B.V., Verhoeve Groep Oost B.V., Vermeer Infrastructuur B.V. and Wegenbouwmaatschappij J. Heijmans B.V.
The asphalt plants in relation to which agreements were made are: Asfalt Productie Kootstertille B.V., Asfalt Productie Westerbroek B.V. and Noordelijke Asfalt Produktie B.V. with plants in Heerenveen and Winschoten. One of the consequences of the cartel agreements was that the asphalt plant of Noordelijke Asfalt Produktie B.V. in Winschoten was closed down, resulting in a reduction in production capacity on the market.
The companies now have the opportunity to respond to the report. After this, NMa will take a final decision as to whether an infringement has been committed and, if so, whether NMa will impose a fine. A special team at NMa is conducting an investigation into the formation of cartels in the construction sector. Earlier NMa drew up reports on prohibited agreements in relation to the North-South underground railway in Amsterdam, a tender issued by the municipality of Scheemda and tenders for asphalting projects in Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe. This year NMa will announce further results of investigations into the construction sector.