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Anti-cartel move follows RMC fine

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READY mixed concrete giant RMC is introducing anti-cartel measures after being hit by a massive £34 million fine for marketrigging in Germany.

RMC has ordered the bosses of its German subsidiaries to sign declarations that they will not participate in market-rigging.

The of fices of the firms will be subject to searches by external lawyers who can arrive unannounced and internal audits will police their businesses.

An RMC spokesman said:

'There are certain areas where our compliance procedures are not up to scratch. This isn't acceptable.'

The huge penalty amounts to about 10 per cent of the group's turnover.

It will serve as a warning to British firms. The Competition Act, which is introduced in the UK in March, will give the of fice of Fair Trading the same penalising powers as its German counter part at the Federal Cartel of fice.

An investigation by the Cartel of fice has centred on the role of the RMC's German arm, RMA, and six of its subsidiary firms for allegedly carving up the ready mixed concrete market in several regions of eastern Germany by rigging prices.

The investigation, which began in May this year and is thought to have covered cases since 1990, involved 56 companies.

Individual fines, understood to be about £20,000 each, have been imposed on four employees at the RMC subsidiaries involved.

As a result of the firm's own internal investigation, three of these employees have since left the group.

The fourth works for a subsidiary at which RMC does not have a controlling interest.

The company said it was taking legal advice. It has two weeks to decide whether to appeal.