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ACM confirms cartel investigation into tender processes

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has launched a cartel investigation into a large tender market. Information about this investigation came to light after a ruling of the District Court of The Hague (in Dutch). ACM assesses, among other things, whether competitors have concluded market-sharing agreements.

Ongoing effort to clean up the tender markets

ACM believes it is important that the competitive process in tender processes (big and small) are fair. Fair competition leads to competitive prices, higher quality, and more innovation. Chris Fonteijn, Chairman of the Board of ACM, explains: “ACM leads an ongoing effort to clean up the tender markets. A lot of money is involved in tender processes. For example, public procurement involves EUR 136 billion annually. ACM has indications that, in various sectors, public tenders continue to be manipulated. In most cases, such violations can only be uncovered if individuals report them. Offenders carefully try to cover their tracks for ACM. That is why we recently also carried out dawn raids.”

Recent rulings by the highest court

Competitors are not allowed to have contact with each other about their planned bids. They are also not allowed to share bid prices. This year, the Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (CBb), which is the highest court in antitrust matters in the Netherlands, ruled in favor of ACM in cases involving tender processes in the home care and demolition sectors.