The Appeals Committee of the Supreme Court of Norway has rejected the appeal in the asphalt cartel case. The Borgarting Court of Appeals concluded in May 2015 that NCC Roads AS was liable for the infringement carried out by one of its employees. It also held the parent company NCC AB jointly and severally liable for the infringement.
The 150 MNOK fine issued by the Court of Appeals is now final and the ruling by the Supreme Court marks the end of the asphalt cartel case that began with an application for leniency and subsequent dawn raids in February 2010.
– An enforceable judgement from the Court of Appeals with a fine of this magnitude has notable preventive effects and bolster the enforcement of the cartel prohibition of the Norwegian Competition Act, says Acting Director General Magnus Gabrielsen.
– The judgement of the Court of Appeals emphasises the importance of effective enforcement of the prohibition against cartels in accordance with principles in EU case law. The Court of Appeals increased the fine from NOK 140 million, as imposed by the Norwegian Competition Authority, to NOK 150 million due to recidivism, says legal director Karin Stakkestad Laastad.
The case in brief: The Competition Authority was informed about the case when Veidekke ASA applied for immunity from fines under the leniency programme of the Norwegian Competition Authority in January 2010. On the basis of the information submitted by Veidekke ASA, the Authority carried out several dawn raids and collected a large amount of evidence, including testimony from a number of people in the Norwegian asphalt industry.
The Competition Authority imposed a fine of NOK 140 million on NCC AB and NCC Roads AS jointly and severally in March 2013 for breach of the prohibition against cartels during the period 2005-2008. The infringement consisted of market sharing, price fixing and big rigging as well as the exchange of strategic information in connection with asphalt tenders in mid-Norway. The competitor Veidekke ASA was awarded full immunity from fines.
NCC AB and the parent company NCC Roads AS brought an appeal against the decision of the Norwegian Competition Authority before the Oslo District Court which in February 2014 held NCC Roads AS liable for the infringement but reduced the fine to NOK 40 million. The district court declined to hold the parent company NCC AB responsible for the infringement. The Competition Authority appealed this ruling.
The Borgarting Court of Appeals concluded in May 2015 that NCC Roads AS was liable for the infringement carried out by one of its employees and held the parent company NCC AB jointly and severally liable for the infringement. The Court reinstated the fine imposed by the Competition Authority. In addition, the Court increased the fine to NOK 150 million due to recidivism. NCC AB and NCC Roads AS appealed this judgment to the Supreme Court of Norway.
The Appeals Committee of the Supreme Court rejected the appeal in December 2015.