CMA writes to Hanson UK on breaches of the Cement Market Data Order

CMA writes to Hanson UK on breaches of the Cement Market Data Order

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has written to Hanson UK about three breaches of the Cement Market Data Order 2016.

The order concerns data disclosed which could have been a proxy for Individual Cement Market Data.

This was caused by Hanson disclosing certain subscription payment data in error to the accounts team at the Mineral Products Association (MPA). This was prohibited under the Order.

The CMA wrote that on September 11 this year, Hanson made a payment in error to the MPA which involved three pieces of information being sent to the MPA accounts team.

These were:

  • A payment relating to MPA subscription fees
  • Remittance advice related to the above payment, which is automatically sent by Hanson’s accounts system for all payments
  • An invoice related to the above payment, as a result of the MPA querying the payment.

The CMA said that Hanson explained that it had put in place procedures for ensuring compliance with the Order in respect of MPA subscription payments and that the disclosure was caused by an administrative error.

It is the CMA’s view that each of these pieces of information falls within the definition specified in the Order as being Individual Cement Market Data, as it is possible to ascertain cement volume data from such information.

Article 3.2 of the Order prohibits cement producers such as Hanson from disclosing Individual Cement Market Data except in specified circumstances.

Hanson has engaged witht he CMA in relation to the error made and has committed to taking the following actions to ensure that recurrence could not happen:

  • The MPA subscription payment training has been repeated and undertaken by all relevant Hanson employees.
  • A member of the Hanson Legal Department will be added to the list of the MPA’s controlled persons to oversee compliance with the MPA process at all key times.
  • A review of the accounts payable function has been undertaken and a dedicated person has been identified for the purpose of processing the subscription payments going forward. This person has also undertaken the MPA subscription process training.

The CMA has said in light of the action taken by Hanson, it does not consider it approproiate to take formal enforcement action at this time.

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