Wednesday 14 November 2018

CRH unit in Romania faces allegations of anti-competitive behaviour

CRH offices were raided
CRH offices were raided

Irina Vilcu and Gavin McLoughlin

CRH's Romanian unit is facing a probe over allegations of potential anti-competitive behaviour.

CRH offices in the country were raided and documents seized, as were offices of LafargeHolcim and HeidelbergCement - other major players in the global cement sector. Romania's Competition Council said it suspects the companies divided up the cement market from a market-share perspective, limited and controlled production and sales, and potentially coordinated price policies.

If the country's watchdog finds rules were breached the companies could face substantial fines. CRH declined to comment yesterday.

Separately, CRH has been dealing with Ireland's competition watchdog, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), over what the CCPC said was potential abuse of a dominant position in the bagged cement sector by Irish Cement, a CRH subsidiary.

The CCPC raided Irish Cement premises in Meath in 2015.

CRH brought the CCPC to court over the search, arguing that a number of documents seized couldn't be examined because they were unrelated to Irish Cement's business.

After CRH won in the High Court, the CCPC brought an appeal to the Supreme Court which also ruled in CRH's favour. The CCPC said in its recent annual report - published in August - that it was seeking to agree a procedure with CRH for reviewing the disputed material.

At that time CCPC chairperson Isolde Goggin told the Irish Independent that the matter could ultimately end up back before the courts.

Irish Independent

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