Galliford Try has assured clients and stakeholders it did not make any financial gain from cover pricing activities, after being fined £8.33 million this morning in one of the Office of Fair Trading’s largest ever investigations.
The company said: “Galliford Try plc notes the announcement today of the decision by the Office of Fair Trading to fine 103 companies following its investigation into breaches of the Competition Act 1998 in the construction industry.
“Galliford Try confirms that it has been fined £8.33 million, payable in instalments over three years, in respect of three incidences of cover pricing that occurred between the years 2001 to 2004. Cover pricing was the practice undertaken when a contractor wished to stay on a client’s tender list but not carry out a particular building contract, of obtaining a price from another tenderer that was intended to be at a level that would not win the tender. The fine takes into account the maximum reduction granted by the OFT for companies that co-operated fully with their investigation from the time that they were made aware of the allegations.
“Galliford Try notes that:
- The three incidences of cover pricing took place between five and eight years ago.
- The incidences were in parts of the Group’s building business in England that have either since been closed down or restructured.
- In respect of all the incidences, the price paid by the client was not alleged or found to have been increased.
- Galliford Try did not, and was not found to have made any financial gain from the three incidences of cover pricing whatsoever.
- Galliford Try was not alleged or found to have made or received any compensatory payments in relation to the cover prices.
- The three incidences took place before the practice of ‘cover pricing’ was established by the Competition Appeal Tribunal to be an anti-competitive practice.
“Galliford Try will consider carefully the detail of the OFT’s findings and consider whether any further action is required, including any grounds for an appeal.
“Galliford Try deeply regrets any actions in the business at that time that have been found to breach the Competition Act 1998 and confirms that Galliford Try has not and does not condone any anti-competitive practices.
“It is now over five years since the last incidence occurred and Galliford Try has in place a comprehensive competition law compliance policy and procedures to ensure it does not engage in anti-competitive activities, including cover pricing. This is backed up by regular training of appropriate staff and by a six monthly check and certification process that all its business units are in compliance. Galliford Try has also adopted and fully supports the competition law code of conduct for the construction industry promoted by the UK Contractors Group. Galliford Try’s culture is one of collaborative working with clients, consultants and supply chain with 90 per cent of its order book secured on a basis other than on pure price competition.”