The aggregates, cement and ready-mixed concrete industries are the latest to come under the spotlight of the Competition Commission. The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has identified a number of concerns, not least of which is that five companies control 90 per cent of the cement market, 70 per cent of the ready-mixed concrete market and 75 per cent of the aggregates market.
The OFT is concerned that the concentration of market share in so few hands, plus the high level of investment required to enter the market, may well act to erode competitiveness.
The OFT has always taken a particular interest in competition in industries in the construction sector. Many of its prosecutions have been of building and construction firms. Substantial fines can be levied for breaches of competition law.