German watchdog issues 661 million Euro fine

Fines totalling 661 million Euros have been imposed on six companies involved in an investigation into alleged anti-competitive practices in the German cement industry.

The German Federal Cartel Office has imposed fines totalling 661 million Euros (£450 million) against six companies involved in an investigation into alleged anti-competitive practices in the German cement industry.

The cartel authorities said Germany’s HeidelbergCement, Dyckerhoff and Schwenk, as well as France’s Lafarge and British building materials group RMC Group were among the companies fined.

RMC’s German subsidiary, Readymix, has been fined 12 million Euros (£8 million) whilst HeidelbergCement received a 251.5 million Euro punishment.

HeidelbergCement plans to lodge an appeal against the penalty notice.

HeidelbergCement said in a statement, ‘The size of the fine results essentially from expected incremental sales caused by a cartel.

‘Obviously, the Federal Cartel Office has not acknowledged our explanations and has instead gone along with its preconceived opinion. In significant points of the notice, we detect only allegations but no evidence.’

Lafarge Cement also considers the amount of the fine to be disproportionate and will bring the case before the Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht) in Düsseldorf.