Waste business worth billions: raids in Austria's waste management industry

Several Austrian waste management companies are facing house searches. The accusation: suspected collusion on prices and tenders as well as market sharing.

collection & Handling Austria

Austria's Federal Competition Authority (BWB) is currently conducting house searches at several Austrian waste management companies. Energie AG made the investigations against its subsidiary Umwelt Service itself public. The BWB then confirmed that premises of several companies at over 20 locations were being searched.

The FCA deploys 100 officers in the seizures. Its suspicions are based on extensive documents covering a period of about 15 years. Concrete evidence has emerged in these documents.

The Styrian waste disposal company Saubermacher confirmed to the "Kleine Zeitung" that it had received a visit from the BWB. There had been "selective checks," said Bernadette Triebl-Wurzenberger, spokeswoman for Saubermacher. "We are very surprised and must first sound out the situation and get a picture. However, we assure full cooperation with the authority and are committed to transparency," she says.

Brantner, a waste management company in Lower Austria, also confirmed that investigators had been looking into the company. As a smaller company, however, it was only marginally affected, in contrast to the industry giants. In a statement, the company assures that it is highly interested in a rapid clarification of the allegations and will support the authorities.

According to the FCA, the companies are suspected of having violated antitrust regulations over a longer period of time. The suspicion includes price fixing, market sharing and agreements on tenders. The investigations are mainly concerned with the collection and logistics sector. According to the authority, private households, industry and companies can be considered as potential victims. The investigations are being supported by the Federal Criminal Police Office and the State Criminal Police Office.

The presumption of innocence applies to all the companies named.