The Commerce Commission has given formal warnings to Schindler Lifts New Zealand and one current and one former employee for taking part in a cartel that fixed elevator installation contracts in the South Island.
The commission alleges that the cartel operated from the early 1980s until late 1995, but because the action is more than 10 years old, the competition watchdog cannot take legal action.
The warning has been issued after an admission from Schindler's manager.
Under the arrangement, the cartel members would determine which firm would win forthcoming elevator installation contracts in order to secure the lucrative ongoing maintenance contracts.
The commission says it is concerned that maintenance agreements still in force today may be a result of the alleged cartel, and building owners are potentially paying higher prices.