Court of Appeal upholds Galvanised Steel Tanks Information Exchange

15 Feb 2019

Balmoral Tanks Ltd & Anor v Competition And Markets Authority [2019] EWCA Civ 162

In a judgment handed down today, the Court of Appeal has dismissed Balmoral Tanks’ appeal against the judgment of the Competition Appeal Tribunal upholding the CMA’s Information Exchange Infringement decision. The infringement occurred at a single meeting in July 2012. At that meeting, Balmoral rejected an invitation to join a cartel involving customer allocation, price fixing and bid rigging arrangements for cylindrical galvanised steel tanks, but the CMA found that Balmoral nevertheless exchanged confidential pricing information with the other suppliers in attendance at the meeting.

Balmoral argued on the appeal that the CMA’s infringement decision was inconsistent with Balmoral’s acquittal in respect of the main cartel, and also objected to the fact that it alone had been fined for the Information Exchange. The judgment, which rejected Balmoral’s appeal on all grounds, contains an interesting discussion of the extent to which the single and continuous infringement principle is one which the competition authority is entitled rather than obliged to apply.

Rob Williams, Standing Counsel to the CMA, acted for the CMA on the Appeal. He led James Bourke in defending Balmoral’s appeal before the Tribunal.

The judgment can be found here.