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British cement suppliers prohibited from sending generic price announcement letters

World Cement,

In January 2014 the Competition Commission (CC) published its final market investigation report into aggregates, cement and ready-mix concrete. This report required Hanson to sell one of its ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBS) plants and Lafarge Tarmac to sell one of its cement plants, in order to enhance competition in Great Britain (GB). It was also announced that to reduce transparency in the GB cement markets, the CC would implement two further remedy measures: a prohibition on generic cement price announcements and restrictions on the disclosure and publication of GB cement market data.

Consulting on the draft price announcement order has begun, after the sale of the cement and GGBS plants on 31 July concluded the divestment remedies arising from the CC’s report. The order sets out that GB cement suppliers will be prohibited from sending generic price announcement letters to their customers. In future, any price announcement letters will be required to be specific and relevant to the customers receiving them, including setting out the last unit price paid, the new unit price and specific details on any other fees or charges that apply to the customer. The order also includes detailed information on how these changes are to be introduced and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is inviting comments on the draft until 9 October.

Consideration on the final remaining remedy measure is also underway, with the CMA intending to consult on this during October/November, with a view to completing all aspects of the package of remedies by the end of 2015.

Adapted from press release by Rebecca Bowden

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