The Federal Court has ordered Swift Networks to pay $1.2 million penalty for engaging in cartel conduct by rigging bids while tendering to supply technology infrastructure and services to three Pilbara mining village projects.
Swift tendered for projects at Rio Tinto’s West Angelas and Yandicoogina sites and its Western Turner Syncline site, and at Fortescue Metals Group’s Japal Village Iron Bridge site.
Swift admitted it had engaged in cartel conduct in relation to the three projects and had agreed with competitor, DXC Connect and DXC Technology Australia, that one of them would submit a higher price than the other in response to a request for bids.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) hauled Swift to the Federal Court in February over allegations of bid rigging and price fixing when tendering to supply equipment and services to five Pilbara mining village sites in 2019.
“Bid rigging is a serious breach of competition laws. Cartel conduct such as this can lead to higher prices for other businesses, and ultimately consumers,” ACCC Commissioner Liza Carver said.
“We have taken this case as a reminder to businesses that we take this type of anti-competitive conduct extremely seriously and will always take appropriate action.”
Swift was also ordered to establish Competition and Consumer Act compliance, education and training programs and pay part of the ACCC's costs.
The orders were made following joint submissions by the parties and the ACCC to the Court.