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BLM British Lead suspended from NFRC for ‘breaching Code of Practice’

by Jennie Ward

HJ Enthoven Limited (trading as BLM British Lead) will have the right to appeal the decision, but has been suspended as a Supplier Member of NFRC for one year, following the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) decision to fine the company £8 million, and disqualify BLM company director Jocelyn Campbell for breaking the law by entering into four anti-competitive arrangements with Associated Lead Mills (ALM).

The NFRC Management Board, on the advice of the NFRC Risk Advisory Committee, has stated it has formally suspended HJ Enthoven Limited (trading as BLM British Lead) as a Supplier Member for one year, for breaching the competition clause of the NFRC’s Code of Practice.

In a statement released today (12th May) NFRC explains this follows the decision of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) (Roofing Materials – Case 50477) to fine BLM British Lead £8 million as well as disqualifying BLM company director Jocelyn Campbell, for breaking the law by entering into four anti-competitive arrangements with Associated Lead Mills Ltd (ALM).

The four arrangements that took place between October 2015 and April 2019, involved:

  • Colluding on prices.
  • Sharing the rolled lead market by arranging not to target certain customers.
  • Arranging not to supply a new business because it risked disrupting the firms’ existing customer relationships.
  • Exchanges of commercially sensitive information.

Associated Lead Mills (ALM) ceased its membership of NFRC in January 2021, and so was not subject to the NFRC investigation. 

The NFRC says BLM British Lead will have a right to appeal and will have the opportunity to re-join the NFRC in one year’s time if they can demonstrate they have put the necessary processes in place to ensure an incident like this does not happen again.

Commenting on the suspension, NFRC CEO James Talman said: “This decision demonstrates that NFRC ‘s Code has teeth, and we mean what we say when we stand for roofing excellence. Our Code is clear that all our members, both Trade and Supplier, should agree to conduct operations with the principles of fair competition. This case was a clear breach of this and through due process resulted in suspension.”

He added: We hope this sends a clear message to the wider industry that anti-competitive arrangements such as this are not tolerated within our membership. We are working closely with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to raise awareness of competition law and the lessons that can be learnt from this case. We urge all in our industry to refresh their knowledge of the relevant guidance in this area and familiarise yourselves with this case, including the recent podcast we did with the CMA.”

Further reading on this story here.

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