Another demolition director banned after bid rigging probe

Grant Prior 12 months ago
Share

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has secured the disqualification of another company director following its investigation into illegal cartel behaviour within the demolition industry.

Nicholas Brown, now Managing Director of the Brown and Mason Group, was a director of Brown and Mason Limited at the time the illegal cartel activity took place.

Following a number of admissions, Brown has been disqualified for a period of seven years.

He admitted being personally involved in two breaches of competition law affecting contracts for demolition services with a total value of over £30m including one relating to the Shell Building on London’s Southbank, and the other relating to the Lots Road Power Station in London.

‘Compensation payments’ with an aggregate value of £700,000 (excluding VAT) were paid to Brown and Mason by two competitors in return for Brown and Mason’s participation in the anti-competitive agreements.

Brown has admitted taking a ‘central role’ in this conduct, including by instructing staff to collect the payments by issuing invoices relating to ‘fictional services and goods’ that were not in fact ever supplied by Brown and Mason.

He further acknowledged that, as a shareholder in Brown and Mason, he stood to benefit personally from these payments, and that he understood at the time that his conduct was wrong.

In March 2023, 10 construction firms were fined nearly £60m after the CMA found following a full investigation they had broken competition law by engaging in a form of collusive tendering known as ‘cover bidding’.

Typically, cover bidding involves companies, when bidding in a competitive tender for a contract, agreeing with each other that one or more of them will place a bid that is deliberately intended to lose the contract, thereby reducing the intensity of competition.

The 10 companies involved were: Brown and Mason, Cantillon, Clifford Devlin, DSM, Erith, JF Hunt, Keltbray, McGee, Scudder and Squibb.

In addition, the CMA found that five of the firms, on at least one occasion each, were involved in arrangements by which the ‘losers’ of the contracts were set to be compensated by the winner. Some firms produced false invoices to hide this part of the illegal behaviour.

In February this year, the CMA secured legally binding disqualification undertakings from Michael Cantillon (former director of Cantillon), David Darsey (former director of Erith) and Paul Cluskey (director of Cantillon).

Brown did not offer an undertaking until after the CMA put him on formal notice of its intention to apply to the court for a disqualification order against him. Had he given an undertaking before the CMA issued the formal notice, his period of disqualification would not have been as long.

Giving an undertaking means Brown agrees to be disqualified from being a director of a company, or otherwise being involved in the management of any UK company, for seven years unless he has the permission of the court.

Michael Grenfell, the CMA’s Executive Director of Enforcement, said: “Company directors need to take personal responsibility for ensuring that their companies comply with competition law. People and businesses need to be protected from illegal anti-competitive practices. Company directors who fall short can expect to face the prospect of disqualification.”

Latest news

McAlpine pulls out of £55m Carlisle Citadels project

University of Cumbria starts hunt for replacement contractor
23 hours ago

Strabag UK suffers further big trading loss

Austrian contractor is gearing up for major presence in the UK market
3 hours ago

Durham Uni picks UPP for £130m student scheme

Firm will deliver 1,000 self-catered bed spaces
3 hours ago

Architects now upbeat after 10-months of work gloom

Larger practices see rising workloads in next three months
3 hours ago

Motorist dies after collision with road paver

Police Scotland investigating fatal crash
18 hours ago

McLaren Living appoints HG Construction for £69m scheme

Build to Rent scheme will transform former vacant car park site in Leeds city centre
22 hours ago

Squibb liquidator probes £2m of “missing” plant

Machinery, cars and scrap metal have disappeared at demolition specialist
1 day ago

Galliford Try to re-enter affordable homes market

Contractor sets out new five-year plan to build margin to 4%
1 day ago

Former Sellar chief to lead civils contractor Kilnbridge

Owen Dannatt joins as new CEO as founder Dermot McDermott becomes Chairman
1 day ago

Hunt starts for nuclear fusion plant construction partner

Fusion energy plant to be built at West Burton coal power station site.
1 day ago

National Grid raises £7bn for big infrastructure upgrade

Rights issue to fund a major round of capital investment in energy infrastructure
1 day ago

Grenfell police probe to last at least until end of 2025

19 companies and 58 individuals could eventually face charges
2 days ago

Mace confirmed on £100m London office retrofit

Work underway on Helical's 100 New Bridge Street job near Ludgate Circus
2 days ago

Wylfa chosen for next big nuclear power station build

Government names Anglesey site for a large-scale gigawatt nuclear power plant.
2 days ago

Bowmer & Kirkland trading profit halves

Contractor buys HVAC specialist Adcock despite challenging market
2 days ago

Piling specialist Van Elle plans further job cuts

Piling specialist plans further cost savings in face of lower demand
2 days ago

Civils contractor A Catlow files administration notice

High voltage cable specialist lodges court notice
2 days ago

Green light for ARC Oxford lab campus

Work to start later this year on £40m Ascent building job
2 days ago

Stonehenge tunnel hit by another legal delay

Court upholds latest appeal against £1.7bn scheme by campaigners
3 days ago

Plans go in for huge Olympic Park construction hub

Bow Goods Yard could deliver 3.5m tonnes of materials a year to sites across London
3 days ago

40% affordable homes target for Labour’s new towns

Labour pledges to select new town sites by end of first year
3 days ago

Plan for £100m Liverpool Baltic station

Construction work could begin next year
3 days ago

Surgo Construction went down owing £4.5m

Biggest creditor is Bellway Homes after dispute on housing job
3 days ago

Vistry seals £157m West London housing deal

Around 575 homes to be built at Merrick Place scheme in Ealing
3 days ago

Streamlined Watkin Jones returns to profit in first half

Multi-room specialist sees secured work pipeline hit £1.4bn
3 days ago

Bellway hires ex-brickie as group construction chief

James Griffin to oversee move to the Future Homes Standard and timber frame.
3 days ago

Persimmon under fire for delays to £10m relief road

West Suffolk Council serves Breach of Condition Notices after timetable slips again
3 days ago

BAM wins £33m Kent secondary school job

Replacement Swanley academy to be built at live school site
3 days ago

Aluminium cladding specialist collapses

Melton Mowbray-based firm worked for several main contractors
4 days ago

Brickwork contractor Lee Marley returns to profit

Affordable and rental homes demand lifts brickwork contractor
4 days ago

Contractor services