CMA Update Suspected Rolled Lead Cartel Investigation

THE Competition Markets Authority (CMA) has today (27 June 2019) announced that it will extend the time allowed for responses to its investigation into three rolled lead companies that are suspected of forming a cartel.

The extension, that is ongoing up until October, will allow Associated Lead Mills Ltd, J. Enthoven Ltd and Calder Industrial Materials Ltd more time to provide written or oral representations in response to the investigation’s findings (‘statement of objections’) set out by the CMA. The results of the case may, however, be published before this time.

The investigation
The CMA’s investigation into roofing materials began in July 2017. Since then, it has provisionally found that the UK’s three principal suppliers of rolled lead have broken competition law.

All three companies are suspected of fixing lead prices, sharing out customers between themselves, exchanging commercially sensitive information and restricting the supply of rolled lead to any other company wanting to enter the market.

Together, the suspected cartel accounts for about 90% of the rolled lead market.

Rolled lead is an important, high-value product for the construction industry, used for waterproofing roofs, including churches and historic buildings, as well as flashing on domestic properties.

If found guilty, the companies involved can face fines of up to 10% of their turnovers:

  • In 2017 Associated Lead Mills Ltd declared a turnover of £62,370,006.
  • In 2017 J. Enthoven Ltd declared a turnover of £157,717.
  • In 2017 Calder Industrial Materials Ltd declared a turnover of £41,801.
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