Competition review is good news for consumers and local business
L&S Waste has welcomed a proposal by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to investigate competition pressures in the aggregates, cement and ready-mix concrete industry.
On 16 August, the OFT released its market study into the sector, which proposes referring the sectors to the Competition Commission for a more detailed investigation.
Mick Balch, managing director of L&S Waste, said further investigation of possible anti-competitive conduct and practices by the major players would be a win for local and regional businesses as well as for customers.
In the report, the OFT identified that the sector – which represents seven per cent of UK GDP with turnover as high as £3.4 billion in 2009 – is subject to a number of pressures which could restrict competition, including the conduct of major firms towards smaller operators.
The report identified five major operators in the national market which combined make up 90 per cent of the cement market, 75 per cent of aggregate sales and 68 per cent of ready-mix production.
“We are proud of our history and proven ability to take on the big guns in the aggregates, and ready-mix concrete industry to provide our customers across the South with quality products, competitive pricing and unrivalled customer service. But more can be done to ensure smaller operators are not subject to under-handed tactics.
“As John Fingleton, chief executive of the OFT, said, these markets play a significant role in the UK economy in their own right, but are also fundamental to the broader construction industry. Ensuring the construction sector gets best possible pricing, materials and service is crucial to helping it make a positive contribution to the ailing UK economy.”
The OFT has indicated it will consult until 30 September this year on its proposal to refer the industry to the Competition Commission before a final decision is made.