The National Court has suspended the 21.5 million euro penalty imposed on OHLA by the National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC) in July of this year, for altering competition in infrastructure construction tenders for 25 years (from 1992 to 2017).
In an order dated September 30 to which Efe has had access, the contentious chamber has agreed to suspend the sanction imposed on July 5 to OHLA and some of the largest companies in the sector.
Thus, the company will not have to pay the fine and will be able to continue to bid for contracts with the Administration until there is a final judgment.
OHLA’s fine amounted to 21.5 million euros; Acciona’s, 29.4 million; Dragados (ACS), 57.1 million; FCC’s, 40.4 million; Ferrovial’s, 38.5 million; and Sacyr’s, 16.7 million.
Since 1992, the companies met weekly and decided the public contracts in which they were going to share technical works of their offers, assured the CNMC, which considered that they exchanged information on their strategy of presentation to calls for tenders for hospitals, ports, airports and roads, among other infrastructures of general interest.
In its appeal, OHLA argued that the payment of the fine would cause it “irreparable” economic damage, and would prevent it from continuing with the normal development of its activity; it also explained that “2021 is the only year, together with 2018, in which, since 2015, OHLA has achieved a positive result, although limited”.
The beneﬁts obtained in 2021 “would be practically exhausted with the payment of the fine and would annul the, already scarce, economic recovery experienced by OHLA” that year, which would aggravate “the already existing treasury tensions of the company”.
The company, the Court’s order indicates, pointed out that the fine of 21.5 million “represents almost 100% of the beneﬁts obtained in the last fiscal year, and its payment would seriously affect the existing cash flow tensions and, consequently, its capacity to face the payment obligations derived from the day to day”.
The sanctioned companies appealed the sanction, although for the moment the only resolution issued by the Audiencia Nacional is the one related to OHLA, although legal sources indicate that the rest of the resolutions will be known in the next few days.