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Tue June 15 2021

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Directors' ban for concrete pipe cheats

29 Apr 19 Two former bosses of concrete drainage supplier CPM who colluded with competitors in cartel activities have been banned from acting as company directors.

CPM colluded in a price-fixing cartel
CPM colluded in a price-fixing cartel

Philip Michael Stacey and Robert James Taylor Smillie were both directors of CPM Group Ltd from January 1997 until October 2017, when CPM was taken over by Marshalls. The Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) has secured the disqualification of the duo following CPM’s admission that it breached competition law.

Mr Stacey has been disqualified from being involved in the management of any company based in England, Scotland and Wales for seven years and six months; Mr Smillie has been disqualified for six years and six months. 

The move follows the CMA’s statement of objections issued on 13th December 2018, alleging that three suppliers of pre-cast concrete drainage products – CPM, Stanton Bonna Ltd, and FP McCann Ltd – breached competition law by taking part in a secret cartel for almost seven years from 2006. The CMA has provisionally found that the cartel aimed to fix or coordinate prices and share out the market for certain pre-cast concrete drainage products in Great Britain. 

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As part of a settlement process, Somerset-based CPM and Derbyshire-based Stanton Bonna Ltd admitted to participating in the cartel and have agreed to pay fines, which will be determined at the end of the CMA’s investigation. The CMA’s investigation into FP McCann continues and no assumption should be made that it has infringed the law, it said.

A spokesperson for CPM 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.” 

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