On 2 September 2011 the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) referred the proposed joint venture between Anglo American plc (which owns Tarmac Limited) and Lafarge S.A. to the Competition Commission (CC) for a detailed investigation. The proposed deal would unite the bulk of the construction material assets of two of the largest construction material suppliers in the UK. The focus of the competition assessment concerns overlaps in the supply of aggregates, asphalt, ready-mixed concrete and bulk grey cement. In addition, the competition authorities will be assessing the risk of co-ordination in the supply of bulk grey cement and the possibility of a restriction in supplies to third parties. The deal has considerable implications for the market as testified by the fact that during the initial investigation, nearly three hundred customers and competitors provided information and views on the merger to the OFT.
In order to meet some of the competition concerns raised by the OFT, the parties offered divestments in lieu of a reference to the CC. However, in view of the significance of the impact of the JV on the structure of the market, which is already highly concentrated, the OFT considered that they were obliged to make a referral to the CC. Following the referral, the CC has invited views by interested parties to be submitted by 23 September 2011.