The Office Fined KTA Technika and První SaZ Plzeň for Cartel in the Area of Railway Crossings

2023-11-14
The Office for the Protection of Competition (hereinafter referred to as “the Office”) imposed fines in the total amount of CZK 3,173,000 on the undertakings KTA Technika, s.r.o., and První SaZ Plzeň a.s (hereinafter referred to as "KTA Technika" and "První SaZ") for entering into prohibited agreements related to public procurement (bid rigging).

Both undertakings admitted to the infringement in a settlement procedure with the Office and subsequently did not lodge an appeal against the decision. This is the second case in a series of investigations into bid rigging cartels in the field of railway procurement.

In the administrative proceedings, the Office found that these undertakings acted in concert when coordinated their participation and bids in the tender procedure for the public contract "Modernization of railway crossings on the track Pňovany - Bezdružice", which was awarded by the former Railway Infrastructure Administration (present Railway Administration) in May 2015. The aim of this anticompetitive conduct was to ensure the most advantageous bid submission by the undertaking KTA technika. The matching bids were subsequently actually submitted. The coordination of the conduct was demonstrated by the Office, in particular through the identical bids and identical metadata in some of the documents in the bids of both undertakings. The conduct of KTA Technika and První SaZ distorted fair competition, and, therefore, constituted an infringement of the Competition Act.

The resulting fines amount to CZK 1,670,000 for KTA technika and CZK 1,503,000 for První SaZ. When imposing the fines, the Office based its decision on the value of the public contract affected by the cartel, which amounted to almost CZK 19 million excluding VAT. The parties to the proceedings fulfilled the conditions for settlement, for which their fines were reduced by 20%. In addition, the fine for the undertaking První SaZ was reduced due to the introduction of an effective compliance programme. In the case of KTA Technika, the Office assessed the information and documents submitted as insufficient to demonstrate a competition compliance programme and did not reduce the fine in this case.

Press Unit of the Office for the Protection of Competition
23/165 – S0347/2021

 

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