Flat roof and car park surfacing contracts in England and Scotland: anti-competitive practices

Office of Fair Trading (OFT) closed Competition Act 1998 case.

Case reference: CA98/01/2006

Summary of work

The Office of Fair Trading has concluded that a number of roofing contractors, as listed in paragraph 1 of the Decision (each a Party, together the Parties), colluded in relation to the making of tender bids for flat roof and car park surfacing contracts utilising mastic asphalt, and flat roofing contracts using felt and single ply in England and Scotland thereby infringing the Chapter I prohibition contained in section 2(1) of the Competition Act 1998.

The Parties were involved in individual agreements and/or concerted practices each of which had as its object the fixing of prices for the supply of installation, repair, maintenance and improvement services for coverings for flat roofs and vehicular decks in England and/or Scotland.  When a purchaser wished to purchase such services, it typically invited a number of (what it believed to be) suitably qualified contractors to submit tender bids detailing the price at which they could undertake the work specified in order to have competition for the individual contract between contractors and obtain a competitive price.

The Parties' co-operation and co-ordination with each other in relation to the setting of tender prices had the object of preventing, restricting or distorting this competition. Different Parties were involved in different numbers of contracts and the OFT has considered the collusion in relation to the tenders for each individual contract as discrete infringements.

The OFT considers that agreements and/or concerted practices between undertakings that fix prices by way of collusive tendering (or otherwise) are among the most serious infringements of the Act.  Financial penalties are therefore being imposed on all the Parties, subject to the operation of the policy to give lenient treatment for undertakings coming forward with information in cartel cases and fully co-operating with the OFT's investigation. 

In line with this policy, Briggs Cladding & Roofing Limited (Briggs) has been granted full immunity from penalty (in recognition of the fact that Briggs was the first Party to apply for leniency and voluntarily provide information). 

The following Parties were also granted leniency: Pirie Limited (55 per cent, including an uplift for leniency plus); W G Walker & Company (Ayr) Limited (45 per cent); Rock Asphalte Limited (40 per cent); Anglo Asphalt Company Limited (30 per cent) and  Cambridge Asphalte Company Limited and Rio Asphalt & Paving Limited (25 per cent). 

The list below sets out the penalty for each Party, both before and after any reductions for leniency, and the number of infringements:

  • Anglo Asphalt Company Limited (one infringement, £2,865 reduced to £2,005 by leniency)
  • Asphaltic Contracts Limited (three infringements, £22,255)
  • Briggs Roofing & Cladding Limited (five infringements, £328,264 reduced to £nil by leniency)
  • Cambridge Asphalte Company Limited (five infringements, £71,699 reduced to £53,774 by leniency)
  • Coverite Limited (one infringement, £104,498)
  • Durable Contracts Limited (two infringements, £47,221)
  • Holme Asphalt (two infringements, £6,453)
  • Makers UK Limited (one infringement, £526,500)
  • Pirie Group Limited (including Pirie Limited and Pirie & Company (Paisley) Limited) (one infringement, £6,743 reduced to £3,034 by leniency)
  • Prater Limited (two infringements, £270,432)
  • Rio Asphalt & Paving Company Limited (two infringements, £12,113 reduced to £9,085 by leniency)
  • Rock Asphalte Limited (17 infringements, £852,253 reduced to £511,351 by leniency)
  • WG Walker & Company (Ayr) Limited (one infringement, £1,570 reduced to £863 by leniency).

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