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CMA publishes cement order and undertakings

Competition & Markets Authority

New measures restrict disclosure and publication of GB cement production and sales volumes data

THE Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has introduced measures which will restrict the disclosure and publication of cement production and sales volume data in Great Britain.

Having consulted on draft versions of the measures in February, the final measures are now contained in two documents: the Cement Market Data Order and the final undertakings.

The order will restrict the disclosure and publication of cement production and sales volume data in Great Britain.

In addition, the CMA has accepted final undertakings offered by the Mineral Products Association (MPA) concerning the use of an independent third party for the collection and disclosure of production and sales volume data which it receives from cement producers.

The final undertakings came into force yesterday [13 April] and the order comes into force today [14 April].

The order and undertakings are the final measures resulting from the Competition Commission’s (CC) investigation into the supply or acquisition of aggregates, cement and ready-mixed concrete in Great Britain.

The CC had found that there were both structural and conduct features of the cement markets which combined to give rise to an adverse effect on competition through co-ordination by the largest cement producers in these markets.

The CC imposed remedial action which required Lafarge Tarmac to sell one of their cement plants and Hanson to sell one of their ground granulated blast-furnace slag (ggbs) plants, to improve competition in the cement and ggbs markets. Both of these sales have been completed.

The CC also said that it would implement two further remedy measures aimed at reducing transparency in Great Britain’s cement markets, comprising: (a) a prohibition on suppliers of cement and cementitious products from sending their customers generic price announcement letters, which was implemented in January 2016; and (b) restrictions on the disclosure and publication of cement production and sales volume data.

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