Swiss Watchdog probes possible price fixing

Swiss Watchdog probes possible price fixing
Published: 25 November 2004

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.