Bathroom fittings sector: investigation into anti-competitive practices
The CMA investigated suspected breaches of competition law relating to vertical arrangements between certain suppliers and resellers in the bathroom fittings sector under Chapter I of the CA98 and Article 101 TFEU.
Case Reference: CE/9857-14
|17 May 2016||Publication of non-confidential version of infringement decision|
|10 May 2016||Final infringement decision issued to party and warning letters issued to a number of suppliers|
|April 2016||Party offered to settle investigation with CMA|
|28 January 2016||Statement of objections issued|
|June 2015||Decision taken to continue with the investigation (further update by the end of January 2016)|
|February to June 2015||Further investigation including further analysis and potential further information requests and stakeholder meetings|
|February 2015||Decision on whether to proceed with investigation or to close the investigation|
|August 2014 to January 2015||Initial investigation: information gathering, including issuance of formal or informal information requests and parties’ responses|
|August 2014 to January 2015||CMA analysis and review of parties’ responses to information requests|
|August 2014 to January 2015||Potential state of play meetings with parties under investigation|
|28 August 2014||Investigation opened|
The following changes have been made to the case timetable since it was first published in August 2014:
|Date of change||Reason for change||Change made to timetable|
|17 December 2014||Additional time needed to analyse and review responses to information requests||Estimated timing of decision on whether to proceed with investigation or to close the investigation put back by around 1 month|
Follow-up compliance work
21 June 2016: The CMA has published advice to help suppliers and retailers across all sectors understand the practices that are regarded as resale price maintenance (RPM), and what to do if they are, or may have been, involved in RPM or similar practices.
The CMA has written an open letter to businesses alerting them that if suppliers restrict their retailers’ prices that can break the law. The CMA’s open letter is accompanied by an at-a-glance guide to the law and case studies with lessons from the CMA’s catering equipment and bathroom fittings enforcement cases.
Press release: CMA guides businesses on online competition law (21.6.16)
Non-confidential infringement decision
17 May 2016: The CMA has published a non-confidential version of the decision in this case.
- Non-confidential decision (PDF, 1.9Mb) (17.5.16)
10 May 2016: The CMA issued a decision finding that Ultra Finishing Limited infringed competition law and imposed a fine.
The CMA welcomes Ultra’s adoption of a comprehensive compliance programme. In recognition of this positive step, and in line with CMA guidance, the CMA applied a 5% discount from the original fine, which would have been £1,032,502. Applying the discount for the compliance programme and then the discount for settlement, the fine is £786,668.
The CMA also sent warning letters to a number of other suppliers of bathroom fittings that it suspects have engaged in similar practices in relation to internet sales. A warning letter does not amount to a finding as to whether or not a company has infringed competition law.
- Press release: CMA issues bathroom fittings infringement decision and fine (10.5.16)
26 April 2016: Ultra Finishing Limited admitted engaging in online resale price maintenance in relation to the supply of bathroom fittings in the UK and agreed to pay a fine of £826,000. This includes a discount to reflect the resource savings to the CMA generated by the company’s admissions and its co-operation with the CMA’s investigation.
- Press release: Bathroom supplier fined £826,000 for restricting online prices (26.4.16)
Statement of objections
28 January 2016: The CMA issued a statement of objections alleging that a manufacturer of bathroom fittings breached competition law.
- Press release: Statements of objections issued to fridge and bathroom suppliers (28.1.16)
On 28 August 2014, the CMA launched an investigation into suspected breaches of competition law in the bathroom fittings sector. The investigation is under Chapter I of the Competition Act 1998 and Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The CMA issued a statement of objections on 28 January 2016.
Further detail of the CMA’s procedures in Competition Act 1998 cases is available here: CMA’s Procedures in Competition Act cases.
Assistant project director
Amanda Partridge (0203 738 6309, email@example.com)
Suzanne Cater (0203 738 6801, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Senior responsible officer
Ann Pope (0203 738 6786, email@example.com)
Published: 28 January 2016
Updated: 17 May 2016
Opened: 28 August 2014
Closed: 17 May 2016
- Non-confidential decision published.
- Infringement decision issued and timetable updated.
- Settlement announced and timetable updated.
- Statement of objections issued and timetable updated.