CMA drops Heidelberg merger investigation

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has dropped its inquiry into a merger between two aggregates firms after the parties committed to giving up some of their sites.

Hanson, which changed its name to Heidelberg Materials in November, agreed to purchase £228m-turnover construction material supplier Mick George Ltd in December 2022. The CMA launched an inquiry last September to investigative concerns the move would harm local competition.

Construction News understands the CMA has accepted the firms’ proposal to offload four quarries and five ready-mix concrete plants and will not be moving into the next phase of its investigation.

Heidelberg Materials confirmed the two firms had entered into contracts to hand over three of the quarries and four of the concrete plants to aggregates firm PJ Thory. Heidelberg Materials’ Needingworth quarry in Cambridgeshire will go to to Brice Aggregates.

Heidelberg Materials chief executive Simon Willis said he now expected the acquisition to be completed by 3 May.

The CMA concluded in the first phase of its inquiry last November that the two businesses had “limited competition” for the supply of non-specialist aggregates or ready-mix concrete in 18 local markets in the East of England and East Midlands.

At the time, CMA senior director for mergers Colin Raftery said: “These products are an important input for building projects, so a loss of competition between two of the main suppliers could result in increased construction costs for businesses and public bodies.”

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