Europe: The European Commission has decided to close an antitrust investigation opened in December 2010 against a number of European cement manufacturers including Cemex, Holcim and HeidelbergCement, according to Construction Europe.
Originally the cement companies were suspected by the EC of colluding with rivals to fix prices in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK. The commission said that there had been indications suggesting possible import/export restrictions, market sharing, price co-ordination and information exchanges in the markets for cement and related products. It said that inspections had been carried out in November 2008 and September 2009 at the premises of companies in Germany, France, the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Luxembourg and Spain.
The EC has now said that the evidence obtained in its investigation 'was not sufficiently conclusive to confirm these initial concerns,' adding 'the commission will continue to monitor closely developments in the European cement markets.'
The alleged cartel was said to have colluded in market sharing and price fixing in the markets for cement and cement-based materials such as ready-mix concrete, clinker, aggregates, blast-furnace slag, granulated blast-furnace slag, ground granulated blast-furnace slag and fly ash.