On Wednesday the asphalt concern Lemminkäinen submitted a lengthy rejoinder to the Market Court in the case brought to the court by the Finnish Competition Authority (FCA), in which Lemminkäinen and a number of other Finnish asphalt contractors are alleged to have operated a paving cartel with a view to unfairly restricting competition in the branch.
The company "refutes the FCA’s allegations as being unfounded in all respects", and calls for the Market Court to throw out the Competition Authority’s proposal for sanctions in its entirety.
At the beginning of April, the FCA proposed that seven asphalt contractors and the Finnish Asphalt Association be ordered to pay competition infringement fines totalling nearly EUR 100 million for the illegal allocation of markets and price and bidding cooperation. Lemminkäinen was singled out as the ringleader in the operation and its share of the fines payable would be in the region of EUR 68 million. The sums are based on turnover, with a maximum applicable fine equivalent to 10% of the previous year’s turnover.
Lemminkäinen’s formal rejoinder runs to 150 pages. Initially it was to have been submitted no later than the end of May, but the Market Court granted the companies involved an extension.
The next stage in the process will be for the FCA to make its own counter-statements on the companies’ rebuttal, which the companies will also be able to comment on. A decision by the Market Court is expected early next year, after which it is more than likely that the case will be carried forward to the Supreme Administrative Court.