The Dutch Competition Authority (NMa) has fined the members of two cartels in the paint job industry. In addition, the cartel facilitator was fined for its role in the cartel, which rigged bids for paint jobs from the Dutch Ministry of Defence.
The NMa levied fines totalling EUR 164,000 against nine companies engaged in two cases of bid-rigging, which concerned the fixing of tenders for painting services. The cartel facilitator was fined EUR 17,000, a significantly higher amount than the symbolic penalty of EUR 1,000 which the European Commission imposed on AC Treuhand for facilitating a peroxide cartel. The majority of the individual fines imposed on the companies actually operating on the market for paint services, which ranged from EUR 6,000 to EUR 37,000, were lower than the fine imposed on the facilitator.
The NMa considered that although the facilitator (Calculatiebureau Cooperatieve Vereniging Spegelt U.A.) was not active on the market for paint services, it actively contributed to the cartel since it organised meetings, prepared notes on the agreements and helped implement the agreements. Following the judgment of the Court of First Instance in the AC Treuhand case, the NMa had warned facilitators that they could also be fined in cartel investigations.
NMa website, press release 09-10, dated 12 June 2009