Ballast Nedam Pursues a Policy of Zero Tolerance

Aug 20, 2012, 16:35 ET from Ballast Nedam NV

NIEUWEGEIN, The Netherlands, August 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

Last week, there were reports in the media concerning an investigation into Ballast Nedam by the Dutch Competition Authority (NMa). The NMa has confirmed that there is no question of a formal investigation. A former project director, who was convicted of defrauding the construction consortium Komfort, made unsubstantiated statements about the involvement of Ballast Nedam. Investigations have been conducted and no evidence has been found of any involvement whatsoever on the part of Ballast Nedam.

Ballast Nedam operates a policy of zero tolerance with respect to its code of conduct. In the event that any possible violation is reported, a thorough investigation is conducted and immediate measures are taken if a violation is found to have taken place. Theo Bruijninckx, Chairman of the Board of Directors says: 'We know that by tackling ethical issues through the courts, we may create negative publicity for our company. But this is something that we are prepared to accept because for us our code of conduct is extremely important and no breach will be tolerated whatsoever. What is important to us is an objective representation of the events that took place.'

The former project director of the construction consortium Komfort, Mr Oomen triggered the attention of the NMa when he made unsubstantiated statements about Ballast Nedam during a court case being conducted against him by the construction consortium. At the end of May 2012, he was found guilty of fraudulent activities and ordered to pay compensation of half a million euros to the construction consortium.

The NMa is currently verifying the veracity of the statements made by Mr Oomen. For the NMa, the statements made by Mr Oomen are a lead for our investigations; every year we receive many such leads. In such cases, we first seek to establish whether there are grounds to think that any suspicious activity has taken place. Of course, this includes taking an objective look at the information,' said an NMa spokesman.

Through a court order, the construction consortium recently obtained copies of personal documents belonging to the former project director for the purposes of an internal inquiry. The construction consortium has also made these documents available to the NMa.

An internal investigation into these personal documents has yielded no evidence at all to support the allegations of the former project director, that Ballast Nedam was involved in fraudulent activity. Neither is there any evidence in these documents that clients could have been disadvantaged in any way. The documents merely confirmed the fraudulent activity of the former project director, who was engaged in defrauding the construction consortia. Ballast Nedam is confident that the NMa will make their findings known quickly, so that there will also be clarity on those, in addition to the court ruling of May 2012.

Ballast Nedam and Strukton have commissioned an external investigation into Ballast Nedam's alleged maltreatment of partner Strukton, following the statements made by Mr Oomen. Ballast Nedam has every confidence in the outcome of the investigation, which will be made known shortly.

Today, through the media, Ballast Nedam has learned that new statements have been offered for publication. In an effort to secure a settlement favourable to Mr Oomen, Mr Oomen's agent has on previous occasions threatened to disclose such statements which would have created adverse publicity specifically for Ballast Nedam. The construction consortium Komfort did not consent to this and is not in possession of these statements. 'To date, all the allegations made by Mr Oomen and his agent that have been investigated have proved to be untrue. Any new allegations made will assessed by us again in the context of our code of conduct,' said Theo Bruijninckx.

Ballast Nedam engages in integrated projects in The Netherlands in four areas of work: housing, mobility, energy and nature. Within this area we focus on five niche markets: industrial construction, hospitals, offshore wind turbines, secondary raw materials and alternative fuels. In a number of areas of expertise, we also operate internationally. The Ballast Nedam share is included in the Amsterdam Small Cap Index (AScX) of NYSE Euronext.

Ballast Nedam's approach is based on life cycle thinking and acting: we develop, construct, manage and recycle. We are involved in long-term management, maintenance and operation of projects and organize financial feasibility. Our supply and specialized companies deliver competitive edge through innovation, cost leadership and purchasing strength. Ballast Nedam's range of services is shifting towards specific product-market combinations with greater added value.

Ballast Nedam creates enduring quality combined with lower life cycle costs for its customers and society.

SOURCE Ballast Nedam NV