Companies broke competition law even though they didn’t join cartel
Two companies had broken competition law by meeting with competitors and discussing price points, even though they did not agree to join their cartel.
That was the finding of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) following an investigation.
The case involved two connected companies who supplied water tanks for sprinkler systems, Balmoral Tanks Ltd and Balmoral Group Holdings Ltd.
An officer for the Balmoral group attended a meeting at a hotel with members of a cartel made up of competitors in the industry.
He was invited to join the cartel but declined, although he did discuss the Balmoral group’s future price plans and bids to customers.
The CMA considered that Balmoral’s “sharing of commercially sensitive information regarding current and future pricing intentions, with the object of distorting competition” amounted to a breach of competition law.
Balmoral were fined for their part in the information exchange.
The other companies were not fined in respect of the meeting but had large penalties imposed on them for involvement in the cartel.
The case went all the way to the Court of Appeal, which upheld the CMA’s investigation and findings.
Please contact Jon Alvarez if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article, or any aspect of company and competition law.