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UK competition commission raises concerns over UK cement industry

World Cement,

Despite giving the go ahead for the 50:50 joint venture between Lafarge and Anglo American, the UK Competition Commission (CC) has today raised concerns over the limited number of players in the country’s cement market. Though not accusing the industry of cartel behaviour, the CC’s deputy chairman Martin Cave has said that the weakened competitive environment could have cost consumers around £180 million between 2007 and 2011.

The UK cement market is made up of four producers: Lafarge Tarmac, Cemex, Hanson (owned by HeidelbergCement) and Hope Construction Materials. Sales of cement in the UK reached less than 8 million t last year. It’s not a huge industry, so obviously the existing producers are concerned with maintaining their market share, but the CC is contemplating measures to improve competition, such as asking one or more of the top three producers to reduce production capacity, opening up opportunities for new entrants.

The CC will publish its final report on the matter by 17 January 2014.

Edited from various sources by Katherine Guenioui.

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