The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court, Perth, against 17 companies and 22 individuals for alleged price-fixing and other anti-competitive conduct in relation to tenders for the supply and installation of commercial and industrial air conditioning and mechanical services in Western Australia.
Amongst other things, the ACCC alleges that the companies breached s45 of the Trade Practices Act 1974 by entering into arrangements or understandings which involved some or all of the various parties agreeing which company amongst them would submit the lowest tender price for particular commercial projects let for tender.
It is further alleged that the companies gave effect to the agreements by way of the provision and acceptance of "cover" prices. It is alleged the conduct generally involved the supply and installation of air conditioning and mechanical services on major construction projects, both private and public.
It is also alleged that the conduct took place up until around 2003 and that some of the companies had been engaging in the conduct since the early 1990s.
The companies that the ACCC is taking action against are:
- AMEC Australia Pty Ltd
- AMEC Engineering Pty Ltd
- Building Services Pty Ltd
- Centigrade WA Pty Ltd
- CMS Engineering Pty Ltd
- Direct Engineering Services Pty Ltd
- Envar Engineering and Contractors Pty Ltd
- Haden Engineering Pty Ltd
- HVAC Construction Limited
- Jako Industries Pty Ltd
- LL Nominees Pty Ltd (formerly Mechanical Constructions Pty Ltd)
- Mechanical Project Management Pty Ltd
- Norfolk Group Holdings Pty Ltd (formerly Environ Pty Ltd)
- Tyco Australia Pty Ltd
- Admiral Mechanical Services Pty Ltd
- Ralie Pty Ltd
- Scott Mechanical Services Pty Ltd
The ACCC is seeking declarations and orders including injunctions, pecuniary penalties, trade practice compliance programs and costs against the various companies and individuals.
A directions hearing has been set down for Friday 21 January 2005 at 11.30 a.m. before Justice Nicholson in the Federal Court, Perth.
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