The Swiss Competition Commission said Tuesday it has opened an investigation into possible cement and concrete price-fixing in connection with an Alptransit tunnel project in Switzerland. The commission said it is investigating whether producers fixed the price when bids for the project were submitted. An earlier preliminary probe by the authorities found no evidence that cement companies fixed prices. The current investigation will look more deeply into the bidding process, Rolf Daehler, the Competition Commission’s director, said.
So far, Switzerland-based Holcim Ltd and Jura Cement, the Swiss unit of Ireland-based CRH PLC have been selected to supply cement and concrete products for the 57-kilometer railway tunnel due to be finished some 11 years from now. Markus Gerber, a spokesman for Holcim Switzerland, said the company’s prices have always been competitive. He said Holcim has regularly briefed a parliamentary commission overseeing the tunnel about the price of its products. Holcim will continue to cooperate with the authorities, he said.
Jura Cement couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Holcim sells concrete ready-mix to Alptransit contractors at between CHF150/t (US$131) for basic mix to as much as CHF220/t (US$193) for an ultra-resistant varieties.