LCA Calls For £11m Lead Cartel Fine to be Given Back to Industry

THE LEAD Contractors Association has responded to the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) update on its lead cartel investigation.

The Lead Contractors Association statement reads:

“As you would expect The Lead Contractors Association (LCA), and our members have been following the events of this investigation with interest.

“Whilst we understand investigations are still ongoing and it appears a compromise has been reached, it is felt however that the monies levied in fines should be transferred from the Government back into the lead industry for the benefit of the industry and its consumers. We welcome a discussion with the CMA on the best route forward.

“The LCA is an independent body representing companies involved with the installation of lead sheet in roofing.”

The LCA statement comes after news that Associated Lead Mills and BLM British Lead will be paying fines totalling more than £11 million.

The LCA represents approximately 80 lead working companies in the UK who are its members.

Lead cartel anger

Leadworking contractors are reportedly angry that they have potentially paid significantly more for their lead supplies over years, pushing up their costs and making their companies less profitable.

None of the lead supplying companies involved in the illegal activity have apologised to industry.

Findings of the investigation into the illegal activities of Associated Lead Mills, BLM British Lead and Calder Industrial Materials were updated on Friday (12 June)  by the CMA.

Four lead cartel arrangements

The CMA says that Associated Lead Mills and BLM British Lead entered into four arrangements breaking competition law:

  • sharing the market, including by arranging not to target certain customers
  • colluding on prices
  • exchanging commercially sensitive information on prices
  • arranging not to supply a new business that risked disrupting the firms’ existing customer relationships and was also a potential competitor in the market.

Both Associated Lead Mills and BLM British Lead have admitted to the illegal activities between October 2015 and March 2017.

The CMA thinks Calder Industrial Materials became involved at a later stage when Calder agreed with the other two lead manufacturers not to supply a new competitor business in the market.

Calder Industrial Materials has not admitted guilt and the CMA’s investigation is continuing.

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