Ready-mix concrete firms to adjust collaborations

With regard to six plants in which ready-mix concrete firms Mebin or Dyckerhoff participate with other competitors, collaborations are to be adjusted within three years. The collaborations in these plants pose too great a risk for unfair competition. These six plants currently have a combined market share of 40 percent or more in one particular region. This has been revealed by an evaluation of the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM). The companies could sell their shares in these plants or cease their collaborations.

Cateautje Hijmans van den Bergh, Member of the Board of ACM, explains: “Last year, seven ready-mix concrete firms made commitments to ACM to eliminate serious risks for unfair competition. These commitments have to be implemented now. Adjusting collaborations in ready-mix concrete plants is an important step in that process.”  

What were the risks of the collaborations?

Close cooperation between various competitors in an individual ready-mix concrete plant can reduce the incentive to compete with one another. It also becomes easier to exchange competition-sensitive information, which, in turn, can lead to higher prices, less service and less choice for buyers of ready-mix concrete. The risks become greater as the combined market share of such a plant increases in a certain region. That is why the collaborations between ready-mix concrete firms in six plants have to be adjusted.

Commitments to reduce other anticompetitive risks

The seven ready-mix concrete firms that made commitments last year are: Mebin, Cementbouw, Dyckerhoff Basal Nederland, Bruil Beton & Mix Group, Mortelcentrale Cuijk, Rouwmaat Groep, and Agar Holding. Two of these have to adjust their collaborations with competitors in ready-mix concrete plants. The other five firms do not have any collaborations in plants that have a combined market share of 40 percent or higher. 

All seven of these ready-mix concrete firms have taken various measures to implement their other commitments to ACM, too. For example, they will no longer have a competitor carry out a contract as easily as before, and they will register their contacts with competitors. Over the next few months, ACM will thoroughly check the implementation of the commitments at the premises of the ready-mix concrete firms.