The test that can expose cartels

Press release

Cartels push up prices. To make it easier to detect signs of suspected bidding cartels, the Swedish Competition Authority has produced a checklist to be used by purchasers.

“There are examples of cartels pushing up prices by 20 per cent when companies have agreed on prices or market sharing prior to bidding ," says the agency’s Director General, Dan Sjöblom. “Finding and exposing a bidding cartel is financially rewarding.”

One of the purposes of the procurement process is to ensure that the goods or services being purchased are of a high standard. If the companies bidding for the contract collude on prices or terms or divide the market between them, competition is rendered inoperative. This leads to higher prices and lower standards.

“The Competition Authority needs help in fighting the cartels,” says Dan Sjöblom. “This is why we’ve produced a checklist to make it easier to recognise indications that a bidding cartel is involved.”

The list comprises 12 questions that purchasers should ask themselves when examining bids for public contracts. Some examples: Are the prices quoted in the bids strikingly similar? Or, on the contrary, are there suspiciously large price differentials? Or do any of the bids have suspiciously similar wording?

“If the answer to any question in the list is yes, this suggests the presence of a bidding cartel," says Dan Sjöblom. “We may already be in possession of other pieces in the puzzle, and additional tips may then prove valuable. So don’t hesitate to contact us at the Competition Authority – no information are too small or insignificant.”

For further information, please contact:
Jimmy Dominius, Press Officer, tel +46 8-700 15 80 or +46 76-542 15 80
Annika Gullans Wiklund, Senior Case Officer, Competition Law Dept., tel +46 8-700 16 73

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