Competition and Markets Authority case

Aggregates, cement and ready-mix concrete market investigation

The Competition Commission investigated the market for aggregates, cement and ready-mix concrete.

Phase 2

Date of referral: 18.01.12 Statutory deadline: 17.01.14

Summary of work

The Competition Commission (CC) published its final report on the market for aggregates, cement and ready-mix concrete.

The CC determined that it will require Lafarge Tarmac to sell a cement plant (and some accompanying RMX plants if necessary) to facilitate entry of a new producer. The CC introduced measures to limit the flow of information and data concerning cement production and price announcements.

They also looked at increasing competition in the supply chain for ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBS) - a partial substitute for and input into cement by requiring Hanson to sell one of its GGBS production facilities.

Notice of release of interim undertakings

16 November 2015: The CMA has released Lafarge Tarmac from its interim undertakings.

Consultation on draft price announcement order

10 September 2015: The CMA has published, and is consulting on, a draft order to introduce measures to stop GB cement suppliers from sending generic price announcement letters to their customers. This consultation is now closed.

Update on appeal and divestments

Update on European Commission merger approval

16 December 2014: The CMA has given consent for Lafarge S.A. to transfer the Cauldon cement plant to the merged entity of Lafarge S.A. and Holcim. This follows the European Commission’s approval of this merger (subject to a commitment relating to the sale of the Lafarge Tarmac business in the UK).

Notice of acceptance of final undertakings

21 August 2014: The CMA accepts the final undertakings given to address the AEC found in the market for the supply of GGBS in GB.



Core documents


Final report

Provisional findings report

Date published: 23.05.13 Addendum published 08.10.13



Case studies

Working papers

Working Papers are published to invite comments and assist the Inquiry Group develop its thinking on key areas. They should not be considered as containing the Group’s definitive views. For further information see the CCs Guidelines for Market Investigations (PDF, 675 Kb), draft for public consultation, in particular paragraphs 56 and 57.

Analysis of cost structures and profit margins


Responses to provisional decision on remedies

Responses to provisional findings report and Notice of possible remedies

Aggregate Industries



Lafarge Tarmac

Summaries of response hearings held with parties


Summaries of hearings held with parties following publication of updated issues statement

Responses to updated issues statement

Summaries of hearings held with parties

Responses to issues statement


News releases

Phase 1

Date of reference: 18 January 2012

Action before reference

The OFT carried out a market study into the markets for aggregates, cement and ready-mix concrete in the UK, and announced its provisional decision to refer these markets to the Competition Commission in August 2011. Following the provisional decision, the OFT held a six-week public consultation.

The OFT confirmed its decision to make a market investigation reference on 18 January 2012.

Reasons for reference

The OFT has referred the markets for aggregates, cement and ready-mix concrete in Great Britain, to the Competition Commission for investigation, under section 131 of the Enterprise Act 2002. This is because the OFT has concerns that the industry displays a number of features which may adversely affect competition. These include barriers to entry, vertical integration, homogeneous products, market transparency and multi-market contacts which have the potential to reduce competition in settings with high levels of concentration.

Having carefully considered all the comments and evidence received during the public consultation, the OFT considers that Great Britain and Northern Ireland are likely to be distinct geographic markets and that the features identified are not present to the same degree in Northern Ireland. Therefore the OFT has decided not to include Northern Ireland in the scope of the reference. However, we have not come to a view as to whether Northern Ireland is a competitive market and may decide to look at this geographic market in more detail in the future.

Key documents

Decision to make a Market Investigation Reference

Terms of reference

Press release OFT refers aggregates, cement and ready-mix concrete markets to the Competition Commission (18 January 2012)

Q&As (January 2012)

Report on the market study and proposed decision to make a market investigation reference

Press release OFT proposes Competition Commission investigation of aggregates, cement and ready-mix concrete markets

Q&As (August 2011)

Help us improve GOV.UK

Don’t include personal or financial information, eg your National Insurance number or credit card details.