Supply of solid fuel products

The CMA found that 2 UK suppliers of bagged household fuels breached the Chapter I prohibition of the CA98 and Article 101 TFEU and imposed fines totalling £3,444,381.

Case reference: 50366-1

Case timetable

Date Action
28 March 2018 Final infringement decision issued to the parties
2 March 2018 Statement of objections issued
2 March 2018 Settlement announced
December 2017 Investigation continuing (further update by end of March 2018)
September 2017 Decision taken to continue the investigation (further update by end of December 2017)
August to September 2017 Further information gathering and evidence assessment in relation to the investigation, and considering next steps (further update by end of September)
April to July 2017 Assessing evidence, gathering further information in relation to the investigation, and considering next steps
March 2017 Decision taken to continue the investigation
November 2016 to March 2017 Initial investigation: information gathering, including issuing of formal or informal information requests and analysis of parties’ responses
November 2016 Investigation opened

Infringement decision

29 March 2018: On 28 March 2018, the CMA issued a decision finding that 2 of the main suppliers of bagged household fuels in the UK had infringed UK and EU competition law. The CMA imposed fines totalling £3,444,381 on CPL Distribution Limited and CPL Industries Holdings Limited (together ‘CPL’) and Fuel Express Limited, Fuel Express (Bagnalls) Limited (previously known as Bagnalls Haulage Limited), Carbo (UK) Limited and G.N. Grosvenor Limited (together ‘Fuel Express’).

Fines for CPL and Fuel Express include a discount to reflect savings due to their admissions and co-operation with the CMA under settlement agreements.

A non-confidential version of the decision will be published in due course.

Settlement

2 March 2018: Two suppliers have admitted infringing competition law in relation to the supply of bagged household fuels in the UK and agreed to pay fines totalling £3.4 million. This is after a discount to reflect the resource savings to the CMA generated by the suppliers’ admissions and their co-operation with the CMA’s investigation.

Statement of objections

2 March 2018: On the same day that the settlement was announced, the CMA issued a statement of objections setting out the CMA’s case that two of the main suppliers of bagged household fuels in the UK had infringed UK and EU competition law.

The CMA’s case is that the two suppliers of bagged household fuels, including charcoal for barbecues, fire logs and coal, to large national supermarkets and petrol stations, infringed competition law between June 2010 and February 2011 by engaging in an illegal arrangement to share the market by rigging bids and exchanging confidential and competitively sensitive pricing information.

Case information

On 7 November 2016, the CMA launched an investigation into suspected breaches of competition law in respect of the supply of solid fuel products in the UK. The investigation is under Chapter I of the Competition Act 1998 (CA98) and Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). The investigation relates to suspected anti-competitive agreement(s) and/or concerted practice(s) in the supply of the solid fuel and charcoal products in the UK.

Further detail of the CMA’s procedures in Competition Act 1998 cases is available in our guidance.

Contacts

Media contact

Any media enquiries should be directed to a member of our Press Office.

Assistant Project Director

Parul Shah (020 3738 6495, parul.shah@cma.gsi.gov.uk)

Project Director

Juliette Enser (020 3738 6857, juliette.enser@cma.gsi.gov.uk)

Senior Responsible Officer

Stephen Blake (020 3738 6469, stephen.blake@cma.gsi.gov.uk)

Anyone with information about suspected anti-competitive activity is encouraged to contact the CMA.

Published 9 November 2016
Last updated 29 March 2018 + show all updates
  1. Infringement decision added.
  2. Statement of objections and settlement details added.
  3. Timetable updated.
  4. Timetable updated.
  5. Timetable updated.
  6. Timetable updated.
  7. First published.