The OFT has referred the proposed UK joint venture between Anglo American PLC and Lafarge S.A to the Competition Commission.
The parties, both active in the supply of construction materials in the UK (Anglo American through its UK subsidiary Tarmac Limited), propose to establish a 50:50 joint venture to which each would contribute the bulk of their construction businesses in the UK.
The transaction triggered the merger control thresholds of the EU Merger Regulation but the parties made a pre-notification request for the European Commission (Commission) to refer the merger to the OFT, on the basis that the transaction may significantly affect competition in a market(s) within the UK. The OFT found that the proposed joint venture involved overlaps between the parties' activities in a number of product markets and at a local, regional and national level. In addition, the OFT found that competition concerns may arise due to vertical supply relationships between the parties' activities which could foreclose independent suppliers.
The initial 24-week statutory deadline for the Competition Commission to publish its final report is 16 February 2012.