Tuesday 24 January 2017

Competition Authority probes claims of price fixing for concrete

Investigation

Siobhan Creaton

Published 22/09/2011 | 05:00

Declan Purcell heads up the
Competition Authority
Declan Purcell heads up the Competition Authority

The Competition Authority is investigating allegations that a number of concrete firms colluded to fix their prices in the west of Ireland.

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The probe is on foot of information provided by Tom Goode, of Goode Concrete, who claims it was involved with some of its rivals in illegal practices to carve up the market for their product and to maintain prices at artificially high levels.

The Competition Authority refused to comment yesterday.

If its investigation finds that Goode Concrete and the other concrete suppliers he has named, which include the giant CRH and Kilsaran, did collude to fix prices, it could prompt claims from local authorities and others who did business with them for compensation.

CRH and Kilsaran have strenuously denied the allegations.

Mr Goode has been involved in a long-running legal battle with CRH and others where he has alleged price fixing.

Executives

The Competition Court heard him allege in June that he met with executives of CRH and Kilsaran in Dublin hotels every two weeks to fix prices.

His account, made in affidavits opened in the Competition Court, also claimed the meetings were so frequent that one CRH executive suggested purchasing a house on Hume Street to hold them. In court, CRH described the allegations as "scandalous".

Mr Goode claimed a spreadsheet with details of forthcoming contracts was discussed in terms of which company would get them.

He became involved in these discussions in 1984, he said, when he was approached by a former CRH executive and claims the price fixing was a long-standing practice.

In the affidavit he said he got out of this arrangement in 1987 when his business was sold to Kilsaran.

He later returned to the concrete business in 1993. Goode Concrete went out of business earlier this year.

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