The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is consulting on measures to restrict the disclosure and publication of Great Britain cement production and sales volume data.
The measures are contained in two documents: the draft Cement Market Data Order and the draft final undertakings. The order proposes to restrict the disclosure and publication of production and sales volume data by cement producers in Great Britain. In addition, the CMA proposes to accept the 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 GB cement producers.
The draft order and undertakings result from the Competition Commission’s (CC) investigation into the supply or acquisition of aggregates, cement and ready-mix concrete in GB. The CC had found that there were both structural and conduct features of the GB cement markets which combined to give rise to an adverse effect on competition through co-ordination by the largest GB cement producers in these markets. The CC-imposed remedial action which required Lafarge Tarmac to sell one of its cement plants and Hanson to sell one of its 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 the GB cement markets, comprising: (a) a prohibition on suppliers of cement and cementitious products from sending their customers generic price announcement letters, which was implemented last month and (b) restrictions on the disclosure and publication of GB cement production and sales volume data.
The CMA is inviting comments on the proposed final undertakings by 11 March 2016 and on the proposed Cement Market Data Order by 29 March 2016.