Construction Enquirer News VP and MGF fined for reducing competition and keeping prices up for groundworks products

Two major UK groundworks products suppliers have been fined £15m for illegally colluding to reduce competition and keep prices up.

A Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigation found that Vp plc and M.G.F. (Trench Construction Systems) Ltd shared confidential information on future pricing and commercial strategy.

They also coordinated their commercial activities to reduce uncertainty, including monitoring each other’s prices and challenging quotes they deemed too low.

Vp and MGF were fined £11.2m and £3.7m respectively for collusion over a period lasting nearly two years.

A third groundworks company, Mabey Hire Ltd, took part for a single period of five months.

Mabey has not been fined as it brought the illegal activity to the CMA’s attention and fully cooperated with the investigation, under the CMA’s Leniency Programme.

Michael Grenfell, Executive Director of Enforcement at the CMA, said: “Today’s announcement shows that the CMA continues to crack down on illegal cartel behaviour and protect consumers.

“The CMA will not tolerate illegal conduct which weakens competition and keeps prices up at the expense of consumers.

“This is the fourth time in the last 2 years that the CMA has fined a cartel in the construction sector.

“It is essential that the sector, which is crucial to the success of our country’s economy, can benefit from a competitive marketplace to deliver value, innovation and quality.”

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