Stockholm District Court imposes record fines in Sweden’s largest cartel case

30 October 2007

Henrik Nilsson

On 10 July 2007 the Stockholm District Court delivered its decision in Sweden’s largest cartel case to date. Nine defendant construction companies were fined a record circa SEK 460 million (circa € 50.2 million) as a result of cartel activities in municipal and state procurements of asphalt surfacing of streets and roads.

The court found that a large number of rigged bids in separate procurements between 1993 and 2001 constituted a continuous infringement, though it did not accept Competition Authority allegations of an existing all-encompassing cartel covering all the procurements in question. In consequence, and taken together with several companies gaining reductions of fines through cooperating with the Authority’s investigation, the Court imposed fines that were significantly lower than the SEK 1 400 million sought by the Competition Authority.

The verdict came more than four years after the filing of the charges with the court. The near 600-page decision reflects the voluminous material processed by the court, including the proceedings from over 40 trial days and evidence from close to 70 witnesses.

Despite the reduction of the fines, the Competition Authority has declared that it is pleased with the outcome. At least two of the major defendant companies have however announced that they will appeal the decision.

Source: Stockholm District Court decision of 10 July 2007, case T 5467-03.