Cartel directors disqualified by competition watchdog

The Competition and Market Authority (CMA) has secured the disqualification of two former directors of a drainage product manufacturer that breached competition law.

The competition watchdog issued a statement of objections issued in December 2018 alleging that three suppliers of pre-cast concrete drainage products – CPM Group Ltd (CPM), Stanton Bonna Ltd, and FP McCann Ltd – breached competition law by taking part in a secret cartel for almost seven years from 2006.

Cartel directors disqualified by competition watchdog

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.

As part of a settlement process, 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 FP McCann Ltd continues.

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 has secured legally binding undertakings from these former directors, which disqualify them as directors and prevent them from being involved in the management of any company based in England, Scotland and Wales.  

Mr Stacey has been disqualified for seven years and six months, and Mr Smillie has been disqualified for six years and six months.  

Under the Company Directors Disqualification Act, the CMA has the power to apply to the 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 which he or she is a director of has breached competition law. The Act also allows the CMA to accept a disqualification undertaking from a director instead of bringing proceedings, which has the same legal effect as a disqualification order.

Investigations are ongoing with respect to other directors and FP McCann Ltd.

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