Three-Year UK Lead Cartel Probe to Continue

THE INVESTIGATION into a UK lead cartel has been extended again for another three months, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced today (12 March, 2020).

The CMA first began its enquiries three years ago, starting in July 2017, and now says it will next update its findings in June 2020.

Provisional finding

Last year, on 27 March, 2019 the CMA issued a provisional finding that three suppliers of rolled lead breached competition law by forming an agreement with each other to fix lead prices, share out customers between them, exchange commercially sensitive information and restrict the supply of rolled lead to any other company wanting to enter the market.

The companies allegedly forming the cartel are:

  • Associated Lead Mills Limited
  • Jamestown Metals Limited
  • J. Enthoven Limited
  • Calder Industrial Materials Limited

The investigation extends to the parent company of both Associated Lead Mills and Jamestown Metals Limited, which is International Industrial Materials Limited.

The parent company of H.J. Enthoven Limited’s, which is Eco-Bat Technologies Limited and Calder Industrial Materials Limited’s parent company Calder Group Holdings Limited are also part of the CMA enquiry.

Repeated extensions

The CMA has already extended the time allowed for responses to be made to its investigation in June 2019. This followed the decision to continue its investigation in December 2017.

More recently, in February 2020, the CMA issued a warning to construction firms over price fixing, bid rigging and dividing markets following a number of high-profile cases. Saying that ignorance was no defence, the organisation urged construction firms to make sure they knew the difference between “cheating and competing”.

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