UK watchdog to pave way for new cement maker

LONDON Tue Oct 8, 2013 2:34am EDT

LONDON Oct 8 (Reuters) - Britain's monopoly regulator said it wanted to boost competition in the cement industry by requiring Lafarge Tarmac , one of the major players, to sell a cement plant to a new entrant in the market.

Competition Commission (CC) Deputy Chairman Martin Cave said: "The best way to disturb the balance of a market where producers have focused on retaining their respective market shares rather than competing is to create the opportunity for a major new entrant."

The CC also said on Tuesday that it planned to limit the flow of information between existing producers and would also order the sale of certain facilities used in the production of a cement substitute.

The regulator's latest proposals are part of its months-long investigation into Britain's cement industry which found in May that a lack of competition was costing customers hundreds of millions of pounds.

The body said then it could force the dominant players, which include Cemex, HeidelbergCement's Hanson and Hope Construction Materials as well as Lafarge Tarmac, to sell off plants.

Before publishing its final decisions, the CC will wait for responses to its proposals.