Stagecoach angry at OFT rebuke

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The Independent Online
A SUBSIDIARY of Stagecoach, Britain's largest quoted bus company, launched a swingeing attack yesterday on the Office of Fair Trading after the regulatory body accused the company of predatory pricing on bus routes in Scotland, writes John Murray.

Jim Moffat, managing director of Fife Scottish Omnibuses, Stagecoach's Fife subsidiary, said the OFT's conclusion threatened to compromise the whole basis of the Government's deregulation policy.

The OFT report said that Fife Scottish had behaved in an anti- competitive way by running loss- making commercial services on routes already serviced under subsidy by a competitor. The investigation followed a complaint by the competitor, Moffat and Williamson.

Sir Bryan Carsberg, director- general of fair trading, can refer the case to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission if he does not receive formal undertakings from Stagecoach.

Mr Moffat said: 'I am extremely concerned that a supposedly impartial public body could come up with such a mish-mash of inaccuracies, half-truths and outright misrepresentation of the facts and background to this case.'

He accused the OFT of ignoring the comments submitted by Fife Scottish when the report was being drafted.

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