Expert legal advice from the competition lawyers

UK roofing materials sector: updates expected soon

First published by Matt on June 03, 2020 in the following categories: Cartels Industry Market Sharing Price Fixing Pricing Selling Restrictions and tagged with | | | | | | |

UK roofing materials sector

The investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that’s looking into the UK roofing materials sector remains ongoing.

We understand that more news could be issued at the end of June in-line with the current timetable in place from the CMA. So far, we have seen extensive investigations carried out over the last few years, and a formal Statement of Objections issued last year.

With an alleged cartel in place that reportedly makes up for 90% of the lead rolling market in the UK, this is a significant investigation.

Background to the UK roofing materials sector case

The CMA is currently looking into whether there are anti-competitive agreements in place between businesses involved in the UK roofing materials sector. The concern is that there may be agreements in place that could be in breach of important competition laws.

The matter has been ongoing now since July 2017, and it was decided in December 2017 that the investigation should continue. This normally happens where the CMA believes it is wise to make use of their resources to continue to look into matters where it is suspected that foul play is afoot.

Throughout 2018, the CMA reviewed the case a number of times and continued to investigate it.

Statement of objections issued

A huge development in the UK roofing materials sector case was the formal Statement of Objections that was issued in March 2019. The CMA alleged that three suppliers of rolled lead had been breaching competition law by engaging in anti-competitive practices.

The CMA confirmed that formal allegations were issued to:

  • Associated Lead Mills Limited and sister company Jamestown Metals Limited (including parent company International Industrial Materials Limited);
  • Calder Industrial Materials Limited (including parent company Calder Group Holdings Limited);
  • H.J. Enthoven Limited (including parent company Eco-Bat Technologies Limited).

A provisional finding was made that the companies were engaged in a cartel where they had reportedly colluded on:

  • Prices;
  • Commercially sensitive information;
  • Market sharing;
  • The refusal to supply to companies that threatened their share.

It is understood that the above companies account for 90% of the supply of rolled lead in the UK, which makes the provisional finding incredibly concerning. In cases like this, cartel behaviour often leads to greater profits for the companies at the expense of the consumer. This is why the CMA’s work to investigate and stop cartel behaviour is incredibly important.

Next steps

The overall case looking into the UK roofing materials sector continues. Written and oral representations are required from the companies alleged to be involved in the behaviour, and we may hear more news at the end of the month.

The CMA has confirmed that there should be an update available at the end of  June 2020, and we await further updates.

IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.

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