Supply of groundworks products to the construction industry

The CMA has issued an infringement decision after investigating suspected anti-competitive behaviour in relation to the supply of groundworks products to the construction industry in the United Kingdom.

Case timetable

Date Action
9 March 2021 Publication of non-confidential version of the infringement decision
17 December 2020 Infringement decision issued
January to December 2020 Further consideration of written and oral representations on the statement of objections and additional information gathering.
April to December 2019 Written and oral representations on the statement of objections
9 April 2019 Statement of objections issued
November 2018 Investigation continuing (further update by the end of April 2019)
March 2018 Decision taken to proceed with the investigation (further update by the end of November 2018)
August 2017 to March 2018 Further information gathering and analysis of information requests
July 2017 Decision taken to proceed with the investigation (further update by the end of March 2018)
February to July 2017 Initial investigation, including information gathering, analysis and review of material
28 February 2017 Investigation opened

Change log

The following changes have been made to the case timetable since it was first published in March 2017:

Date of change Reason for change Change made to timetable
1 May 2020 Additional time needed to consider written and oral representations and to complete additional information gathering Period for considering written and oral representations and to complete additional information gathering extended from April to July 2020
4 November 2019 Additional time given to parties to provide written and oral representations Period for written and oral representations on the statement of objections extended from October to December 2019
31 July 2019 Additional time given to parties to provide written and oral representations Period for written and oral representations on the statement of objections extended from July to October 2019
29 March 2018 Additional time needed to gather and analyse additional information Date for further update changed from February 2018 to March 2018

Non-confidential infringement decision

9 March 2021: The CMA has published a non-confidential version of the decision in this case.

Infringement decision

17 December 2020: The CMA issued a decision finding that 3 suppliers of groundworks products to the UK construction industry, Vp plc, M.G.F (Trench Construction Systems) Ltd and Mabey Hire Ltd, infringed competition law by colluding illegally.

Fines totalling more than £15 million have been imposed on Vp and MGF. Mabey has not been fined as it brought the illegal activity to the CMA’s attention and cooperated with the investigation under the CMA’s leniency programme.

Statement of objections

9 April 2019: On 9 April, the CMA issued a statement of objections setting out its provisional findings that 3 suppliers to the construction industry breached competition law by coordinating their commercial behaviour (in particular pricing practices) with the aim of reducing competition on price and strategic uncertainty, including through the sharing of competitively sensitive, confidential pricing and strategic information in relation to the supply of certain groundworks products in the United Kingdom.

The allegations concern M.G.F. (Trench Construction Systems) Ltd, Mabey Hire Ltd and Vp plc. The statement is also addressed to M.G.F. (Trench Construction Systems) Ltd’s parent company MGF Ltd and Mabey Hire Ltd’s parent companies Mabey Engineering (Holdings) Ltd and Mabey Holdings Ltd.

Case information

  • The investigation concerned suspected infringements of Chapter I of the Competition Act 1998 and Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

  • Changes to the timing of original entries in the case timetable were made where the estimated timing in the original timetable changed.

Personal data

The CMA may collect, use and share personal data for its investigations, including investigations under the Competition Act 1998. This includes processing personal data for the purposes of the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018.

For more information about how the CMA handles personal information, please see the CMA’s Personal Information Charter.

Contacts

Team leader

Adam Watts (020 3738 6424, adam.watts@cma.gov.uk)

Joint project directors

Deborah Wilkie (020 3738 6606, deborah.wilkie@cma.gov.uk)

Sarah Northam (020 3738 6270, sarah.northam@cma.gov.uk)

Senior responsible officer

Howard Cartlidge (0203 738 6699, howard.cartlidge@cma.gov.uk)

Media enquiries

Any media enquiries should be directed to a member of our Press Office at pressoffice@cma.gov.uk or by calling 020 3738 6460.

Published 2 March 2017
Last updated 9 March 2021 + show all updates
  1. Non-confidential version of the infringement decision published.

  2. Infringement decision announced.

  3. Timetable updated. January to April 2020 changed to January to July 2020.

  4. Timetable updated.

  5. Case timetable updated: Additional time given to parties to provide written and oral representations.

  6. Timetable updated: Additional time given to parties to provide representations to the statement of objections.

  7. The page has been updated with information about the statement of objections issued today. The timetable has also been updated.

  8. Case timetable and change log updated.

  9. Timetable updated.

  10. First published.