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Directors of drainage supplier disqualified for role in cartel

Hs2 euston nth demolition march 2019

Two former directors of CPM Group, a drainage supplier to projects such as Hinkley Point and High Speed 2 (HS2), have been disqualified after the company was found to have broken competition law.

The Competition and Markets Authority has disqualified Philip Michael Stacey and Robert James Taylor Smillie from being directors and being involved in the management of any company based in England, Scotland and Wales.

Somerset-based CPM Group, Derbyshire-based Stanton Bonna Concrete and Northern Ireland-based FP McCann last year all provisionally being found by the Competition and Markets Authority to have broken competition law by holding regular secret meetings to set up and operate an illegal cartel. As a result, the three firms controlled 90% of the market.

The Authority explained: “Somerset-based CPM and Derbyshire-based Stanton Bonna Ltd admitted to participating in the alleged cartel and have agreed to pay fines, which will be determined at the end of the CMA’s investigation. The CMA’s investigation into a third company, FP McCann Ltd, continues and no assumption should be made that it has infringed the law.”

“Philip Michael Stacey and Robert James Taylor Smillie were directors at CPM throughout the period of the alleged cartel activity, during which time the company was one of the leading players in the market,” the CMA added.

CPM Group is a supplier to projects such as Hinkley Point and HS2 in a recent according to parent company Marshalls, which acquired the group in 2017.

Stacey has been disqualified for seven and a half years, while Smillie has been disqualified for six and a half years.

A spokesperson for CPM Group said: “We accept the CMA’s ruling which follows our co-operation with it during its investigation. The ruling relates to events that occurred more than five years ago and involved CPM’s former directors while the firm was under their ownership.

“In the years since the incident, CPM Group, under the guidance of new ownership and a new management team, has established robust and proactive processes to ensure compliance with competition law. The ruling will not impact on CPM’s current trading.”

Under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986, the Authority has the power to apply to a court to disqualify a director from holding company directorships or performing certain roles in relation to a company for a specified period, if a company ofwhich he or she is a director has breached competition law.

The Competitions and Markets Authority has confirmed that investigations are ongoing with respect to other directors and FP McCann Ltd.

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