AdC issues Statement of Objections to 5 companies and 6 directors and managers for cartel in railway maintenance

​Press Release 13/2018
AdC issues Statement of Objections to 5 companies and 6 directors and managers for cartel in railway maintenance
The Portuguese Competition Authority (Autoridade da Concorrência - AdC) issued a Statement of Objections to railway maintenance companies of Mota-Engil, Comsa, Somague, Teixeira Duarte and Vossloh groups for taking part in a cartel in public tenders launched by Insfraestruturas de Portugal, in 2014 and 2015.
The companies are Fergrupo – Construções e Técnicas Ferroviárias, S.A., Futrifer – Indústrias Ferroviárias, S.A., Mota-Engil – Engenharia e Construção, S.A., Neopul – Sociedade de Estudos e Construções, S.A. and Somafel – Engenharia e Obras Ferroviárias, S.A. In addition to the companies, 6 members of the board and directors are also accused in the Statement of Objections of being allegedly involved in the infringements.
The investigation undertaken by the Portuguese Competition Authority revealed that between 2014 and 2016, the undertakings manipulated their tender proposals in order to artificially determine the winner of each tender and the level of the prices of the services involved.
The tenders were intendend to provide maintenaince services for equipment of the national railway network, such as gates, traffic lights, among others, in mainland Portugal during the period 2015-17.
The AdC’s investigation was initiated following a complaint submitted within the context of the Fighting Bid-Rigging Campaign launched by the AdC in June 2016 addressed to public procurement entities. The investigation was opened by the AdC in October 2016, and was followed by dawn raids in the companies’ and third companies’ premises, located in the region of Lisbon and Porto.
The Portuguese Competition Law prohibits cartels, as agreements between undertakings which significantly restrict, by their object, competition in whole or in part of the national market.
The fight against cartels is a maximum priority for the Portuguese Competition Authority, taking into account the losses that they invariably cause to consumers and businesses, leading to higher prices and reduced quality and variety of goods and services. The infringement of competition rules not only reduces consumer welfare, but also weakens the companies´ competitiveness, undermining the economy as a whole.
The AdC underlines that issuing a Statement of Objections does not prejudge the final outcome of the procedure. The addressees of a Statement of Objection have now the opportunity to exercise their rights of defence against the alleged infringement and possible applicable sanctions.
The Statement of Objections was adopted on 13 September, 2018.
 14 September 2018