Cement works sell-offs sought to improve the mix
The Competition Commission is looking to crack open the cement market by forcing the biggest three makers in the UK to sell off production facilities.
In provisional findings released yesterday, the inquiry's chairman, Martin Cave, found that with so much of the UK market concentrated in so few hands, cement prices had increased by £36m a year. Mr Cave said this was almost certainly an underestimate, which means yet more financial pressure has been heaped on a construction industry that is "not flourishing".
Although Hanson UK, Cemex and Lafarge Tarmac were not accused of any wrongdoing, the commission's key suggestion is to force one or more of them to offload cement works. The hope is that this will encourage new players into the market.
Any sales would hurt the producers. Lafarge Tarmac, which with four sites has the most plants in the UK, yesterday "strongly disagreed" with the commission's findings. "We believe there is effective competition in the sector, which continues to be critical to the UK economy," it said.
Lafarge's tie-up with Tarmac only started trading this year after meeting the commission's conditions for the merger. A spokesman for Hanson said that the company was "looking carefully" at the provisional findings of the investigation, which is expected to end in December.
- 1 Cyclist who knocked down three-year-old girl says his life has been 'destroyed'
- 2 A politically correct lefty goes to see Top Gear live – you'll probably believe what happened next
- 3 Young Preston fan has play-off hero Jermaine Beckford's shirt stolen from him at Wembley - which then appears for sale on Gumtree
- 4 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 5 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
iJobs Money & Business
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...
£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...
£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...