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Thursday, Apr 25, 2024

Company owned by husband of ex-justice chief faces new round of anti-competitive legal procedding

Company owned by husband of ex-justice chief faces new round of anti-competitive legal procedding

A company founded by Otto Poon Lok-to, husband of former justice secretary Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah, faces yet another round of legal proceedings over a suspected air-conditioning works cartel.
The Competition Commission on Tuesday commenced its second proceeding in the Competition Tribunal against two companies and one individual, including Poon's ATAL Building Services Engineering Limited (ABS), Johnson Controls Hong Kong Limited and its parent company, and a former assistant service manager of Johnson Controls.

The Commission said Johnson Controls and ABS had engaged in serious anti-competitive practices, including price fixing, shared markets, and rigged bids in the supply of air-con works in Hong Kong from December 2015 to June 2018.

ABS entered into a cooperation agreement with the Competition Commission last November after it admitted liability in both rounds of proceedings and to pay a fine of HK$150 million and the Commission's investigation and legal costs.

In the latest round of lawsuits, the Commission seeks the Tribunal to declare Johnson Controls contravened the First Conduct Rule of the Competition Ordinance and the order for penalties to be imposed on the company and the former assistant service manager involved.

The competition watchdog added that the filing of this case marks the conclusion of the investigations into the relevant misconduct, which is believed to involve over HK$3 billion worth of air-conditioning works in Hong Kong.

“The Commission has concluded its investigations into matters which form the subject matters of the Proceedings and Second Proceedings and there are no outstanding investigations against the Company and ATAL Building Services in relation to air conditioning works,” said in an announcement by Analogue Holdings, ABS’s parent company.

It added that the company is not named as a party in the second proceedings, and the potential liability of ABS under both proceedings has been dealt with and resolved under the agreement entered into with the Commission in November.
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