CMA says investigation is continuing

Two of the UK’s largest rolled lead suppliers are facing fines worth more than £11m after admitting to taking part in a cartel.

Associated Lead Mills and BLM British Lead admitted to colluding on prices and sharing the market for rolled lead, a key roofing product.


They have been under investigation by the CMA along with a third firm, Calder Industrial Materials, which has made no admission. Together, the three firms account for some 90% of UK rolled lead supplies.

The investigation found that the firms also exchanged commercially sensitive information on prices and agreed not to supply a new business which threatened the market sharing agreement.

Calder Industrial Materials was a latecomer to the arrangement to not supply a potential competitor.

The CMA first accused the three firms of colluding in March last year.

The CMA’s updated findings allege that the arrangements, which took place between October 2015 and March 2017, were not a single cartel agreement but a set of four individual arrangements which broke competition law.

In a statement, the CMA said: “In the light of the CMA’s updated provisional findings, both Associated Lead Mills and BLM British Lead have now admitted to their parts in these arrangements. The two firms have agreed to pay maximum fines totalling more than £11 million, although the exact amount will be determined at the end of the CMA’s investigation, if there is a formal final decision that the law has been broken.”

BLM British lead has been told it is facing a £9.5m fine while Associated Lead Mills is looking at a £1.8m penalty.

The CMA added: “With regard to the third firm, Calder Industrial Materials, the CMA has provisionally found that it became involved, at a later stage, in the arrangement with Associated Lead Mills and BLM British Lead not to supply a new business that risked disrupting the firms’ customer relationships and was a potential competitor in the market. Calder Industrial Materials has made no admission of liability and the CMA’s investigation is continuing. No assumption should be made that Calder Industrial Materials has broken the law.”

The CMA said its investigation was continuing.