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The Supreme Court upheld the decisions of the AMO SR on illegal agreement in the construction of motorway

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On 2 November 2016 the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic upheld the conclusions in the decisions issued by the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic (hereafter “the Office”) in the matter of cartel agreement between six companies in the construction of a motorway section (Decision No. 2006/KH/R/2/116 and Decision No. 2005/KH/1/1/137 – available only in Slovak language).
Companies MOTA – ENGIL, ENGENHARIA E CONSTRUCAO, S.A., Strabag a.s., Skanska DS a.s., Doprastav, a.s., Inžinierske stavby, a.s. and BETAMONT s.r.o. infringed the provisions of the Act on Protection of Competition and Art. 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union by coordinating their conduct in the tender for execution of works for the construction of D1 motorway section Mengusovce – Jánovce (section from 0.00 to 8.00 km) and in 2006 they were fined by the Office in the total amount of nearly EUR 45 million.
The Supreme Court upheld the decisions of the Office on the cartel agreement in the construction of the motorway in December 2013 when it changed the verdict of the Regional Court Bratislava, which in 2008 annulled the decisions of the Office, by dismissing all the actions by the companies. The verdict of the Supreme Court was annuled in 2015 by the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic based on constitutional applications submitted by the construction companies and so the Supreme Court repeatedly held in the case and ruled in November 2016.
Based on the analysis the Office found that the construction companies stated above cooperated in setting offer prices for the tender. Submitted bids included complex of construction works valued at nearly 900 unit prices and ratios between prices in the bids submitted by the tenderers showed extremely constant figures. Such a strong convergence is nonstandard and cannot be objectively justified otherwise than by anti-competitive agreement between the tenderers, while during the administrative proceedings were avoided all possible alternative explanations of such compliance.