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September 25, 2021

Asphalt tycoons get their businesses checked

The Competition Council probes the auctions for three road contracts worth EUR 190 M in total.

The Competition Council (CC) launched three probes on possible arrangements between companies suspected of participating with rigged offers in the auctions held by the Teleorman and Ilfov county councils and by the Craiova Roads and Bridges Departments, in view of awarding three road modernisation contracts, Mediafax reports. “Two of the three probes were justified by information about how qualifying documents were submitted and participation offers were made, provided by the National Authority for the Regulation and Monitoring of Public Acquisitions. For the third probe, the pieces of evidence were obtained from a market survey we are conducting on the Romanian market of construction works for roads and motorways,” CC President Bogdan Chiritoiu wrote in a press release. CC inspectors checked without warning the head offices of the companies targeted by the three probes, took documents, spoke with company officials, and are now analysing the results. The companies that cooperate with the competition watchdog may be exempted from fines or may have their fines significantly reduced.The companies involved in the three cases, which were subject to inspections, are Alpine BAU Austria, LENA Engenharia E Construcoes Portugalia, Artera Blue, Shapir Structures 1991 LTD Israel, PA&CO International, Tel Drum, Euro Construct Trading 98, Euroconstruct, Topavedi Constructii, Vectra Service, Argecom, Hidro Olt, Eurovia Construct International, General Trust Arges, Delta Antrepriza De Constructii si Montaj 93, Tehnologica Radion, Dimar, Apolodor Comimpex, Colas Drumuri, Confort, Pas Trans Company, Gecor, Romstrade, Strabag Austria Sucursala Bucuresti Romania.

Some companies are involved in two of the three probesThe first probe refers to a possible arrangement between 14 companies, in view of participating with rigged offers – individual and in association – in two auctions held by the Teleorman County Council during 2009-2010, for awarding road restoration contracts. The two contracts were awarded to Tel Drum SA, with the total value of RON 137.6 M (VAT exclusive), equivalent to almost EUR 32 M. The financing was secured from the European Regional Development Fund, the state budget and the budget of the Teleorman County Council.The second probe targets a possible deal between 7 companies to rig their offers in three auctions held by CJ Ilfov during 2009-2010 for road restoration works. Tehnologica Radion won two auctions, and Apolodor Comimpex the third one. The total value of the contracts awarded by CJ Ilfov through these auctions tops RON 183.5 M (VAT exclusive), equivalent to EUR 42.6 M. The financing sources were structural funds – POR Axis 2 and the budget of CJ Ilfov.Regarding the third probe, CC suspects 10 companies of a secret arrangement to rig their offers for the auctions held in 2008 by the Craiova Roads and Bridges Department of CNADNR for awarding the ‘Framework agreement for multi-annual works and services winter-summer 2008-2011.’ By simulating competition, the companies allegedly won the contracts by rotation. Three auctions were organised, won by Colas Drumuri, Gecor and General Trust Arges. The total value of contracts amounted to RON 499.1 M (EUR 114.2 M), with the financing being secured from the state budget.

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