The Biggest & Best Portal to the Professional Property, Workplace and Built Environment Community

Friday, 19 July

JLL Off The Hook But Five Fit-outs Fined For Financial Fixing

JLL has avoided a Competition and Markets Authority financial sanction for disclosing information that saw five fit-out companies fined a total of £7 million between them for 'cover bidding'

Five office fit-out firms are to pay £7 million in fines for breaking competition law but a sixth, JLL, has gotten away scot-free after blowing the whistle on its accomplices.

JLL brought information about the conduct to the Competition and Markets Authority's attention and thus, under the CMA's Leniency Programme, will not be fined as long as the company continues to co-operate and complies with the other conditions of the leniency policy.

The five companies are Fourfront, Loop, Coriolis, ThirdWay and Oakley. Each of the five admitted being involved in cartel behaviour.

Following a CMA investigation, each company admitted to breaking competition law at least once during the period of 2006-2017, in some cases on multiple occasions.

The firms, based in London and the Home Counties, provide services such as fit-out, design and refurbishment of commercial premises - especially offices.

 

Cover bidding

Each company has admitted to participating in 'cover bidding' in competitive tenders, colluding on the prices they would bid for contracts. Typically, cover bidding involves companies agreeing with each other to place bids that are deliberately intended to lose the contract, thereby reducing the intensity of competition. This type of illegal behaviour can lead to customers paying an artificially inflated price or receiving poorer quality services.

These cover bids affected 14 contracts with a variety of customers, ranging from a City law firm to a further education college.

 

Fines

The 5 have agreed to pay the following fines that reflect a number of factors including the companies’ size and financial position and their role in the cartel behaviour:

  • Fourfront - £4,143,304.
  • Loop - £1,090,816.
  • Coriolis - £7,735.
  • ThirdWay - £1,780,703.
  • Oakley - £58,558

Andrea Coscelli, the CMA’s Chief Executive, said: "The CMA is concerned it is seeing a lot of evidence of anti-competitive conduct in the construction industry. We have already taken a number of cases in this sector. Today’s fines reinforce the message that the CMA will not tolerate competition law being broken.

"As shown by the total of £7 million in fines agreed (on March 1) we will not turn a blind eye to illegal behaviour and we will impose penalties where we find laws have been broken. This can include seeking disqualification of company directors."

 

Competition Act

Any business found to have infringed the Competition Act 1998 can be fined up to 10% of its annual worldwide group turnover and directors of the companies concerned can be banned from holding directorships for up to 15 years.

 

JLL off the hook

The CMA runs a Leniency Programme to encourage businesses and individuals to come forward with information about their involvement in a cartel. Businesses which come forward and co-operate with the CMA may be granted immunity from penalties or a significant reduction.

In this case, JLL brought information about the conduct to the CMA’s attention and in accordance with the CMA’s Leniency Programme, will therefore not receive a fine. Under the Leniency Programme, Loop will receive a 25% discount to its fine for coming forward with information about its participation in the cartel behaviour, and co-operating with the CMA.

Picture: JLL has avoided a Competition and Markets Authority financial sanction for disclosing information that saw five fit-out companies fined a total of £7 million between them for 'cover bidding'.

Article written by Brian Shillibeer

Share



Related Articles

147 Dead - 2018/19 Fatal Injury Stats Released

July 3 saw the HSE release their annual provisional workplace fatality figures for 2018/19. 147 workers died between April 2018 and March 2019 (a rate of 0.45 per...

 Read Full Article
Poor Maintenance & Reporting Lead To £126 Million Penalty

Southern Water has agreed to pay £126 million in penalties and payments to customers after dreadful maintenance led to sewage treatment failures. A criminal...

 Read Full Article
Not So Deee-Liteful - Biffa Bashed For Grubby Waste Deal

Waste giant Biffa has been found guilty of exporting banned waste to China in containers labelled as waste paper but containing used nappies, sanitary towels, shoes and...

 Read Full Article
Roller Shutter Door Crushed Woman to Death

An electrical company has been fined after a woman was fatally crushed by a roller shutter door. Heidi Chalkley pressed the button to open a roller-shutter door at the...

 Read Full Article
Explosion - Four Dead - Valero Pays £6 Million

Valero Energy UK will have to pay at least £6 million after four people died in an oil explosion. B&A Contracts have also been fined after the incident at...

 Read Full Article
Kindness Kills - Chewed Chlorine Causes Catastrophe

A delivery of cleaning products to a 'Kindness' care home went dreadfully wrong when a patient with Alzheimer's mistook an open pack of chlorine tablets for...

 Read Full Article
Waste Companies Maim And Kill

A company in the recycling sector has been fined over a manual handling of loads issue and two other firms in the same business have been fined for separate...

 Read Full Article
Dying Matters - Hospital Trust Fined For Asbestos Breach

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust has been fined after refurbishment work at a hospital exposed employees and contractors to asbestos. The Trust has launched...

 Read Full Article
Advertising Impact - GLAP Slapped With Whopping Fine

GLAP, the land and property arm of the Greater London Authority, has been fined after an advertising hoarding on its premises collapsed on to a man in front of his wife...

 Read Full Article
Chucked Crowbar Causes Flashover Catastrophe

Two companies have been fined after a worker attempted to test if high voltage equipment was isolated by throwing a crowbar at it - it wasn't and a skin melting...

 Read Full Article