Press release

CMA welcomes the sale of cement and GGBS plants

The CMA has welcomed the sale of plants by Lafarge Tarmac and Hanson.

Cement mixer truck

In the Competition Commission’s (CC) market investigation report published in January 2014, the CC had ordered Lafarge Tarmac to sell one of two cement plants and Hanson to sell one of its ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBS) plants to enhance competition in the cement and GGBS markets in Great Britain.

Lafarge Tarmac and Hope Construction Materials Limited (Hope) both appealed the CC’s decision to the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

In December 2014, the European Commission cleared the merger between Lafarge S.A. and Holcim, subject to commitments that conformed to and were consistent with the CC’s report and its objective of creating a fifth independent cement producer in the UK. In accordance with those commitments, the Lafarge Tarmac business in the UK, with the exception of the Cauldon cement plant, was sold to the Irish construction materials firm CRH last Friday, 31 July 2015.

In light of the above developments, the legal challenges brought by Lafarge Tarmac and Hope to the CC’s report have been withdrawn.

In addition, Hanson completed the sale of its GGBS plant in Scunthorpe (PDF, 381KB, 3 pages) , as required by the CC’s report, to Francis Flower on Friday, 31 July 2015.

This news means that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has completed the divestment remedies arising from the CC’s report.

All information on the investigation is available on the case page.

Notes for editors

  1. The CMA is the UK’s primary competition and consumer authority. It is an independent non-ministerial government department with responsibility for carrying out investigations into mergers, markets and the regulated industries and enforcing competition and consumer law. From 1 April 2014 it took over the functions of the CC and the competition and certain consumer functions of the Office of Fair Trading, under the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013.
  2. The CMA took over responsibility for the case from the CC in April 2014.
  3. Lafarge Tarmac Holdings Limited and Hope Construction Materials Limited challenged findings in the CC’s final report. The proceedings were originally listed for hearing in September 2014 but the matters were stayed pending the assessment of the Lafarge/Holcim merger by the European Commission and thereafter its completion.
  4. Lafarge Tarmac had 2 appeals stayed. The first one, dating back to October 2013, was stayed pending the outcome of its second appeal. Lafarge Tarmac has withdrawn both challenges.
  5. The Lafarge/Holcim merger completed on 10 July 2015 and CRH completed the purchase of the Lafarge Tarmac business in the UK on 31 July 2015. The CMA consented to the transfer of the Cauldon cement plant to the merged Lafarge/Holcim in December 2014.
  6. Enquiries should be directed to Siobhan Allen (siobhan.allen@cma.gsi.gov.uk, 020 3738 6460).
  7. For more information on the CMA see our homepage or follow us on Twitter @CMAgovuk, Flickr and LinkedIn. Sign up to our email alerts to receive updates on markets cases.
Published 5 August 2015