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EMR fined for breaching competition ruling

European Metal Recycling (EMR) and its parent company Ausurus Group have been fined a total of £300 000 (EUR 340 000) for failing to observe a ruling of the UK’s Competition & Markets Authority (CMA).

Two fines of £150 000 were imposed by the CMA for the ‘unauthorised integration’ with Metal & Waste Recycling (MWR) while a merger of the two businesses was under investigation.

Following a ruling in December which was published in mid-January, the CMA said: ‘Ausurus and EMR have no reasonable excuse for their failure to comply. The CMA considers that it is appropriate to impose a penalty in the interests of specific and general deterrence and because of the seriousness of the breaches.’

The actions included allowing transactions between a MWR customer and Ausurus without seeking the consent of the CMA. EMR also failed to give the managing director of MWR the authority to take decisions without consulting, or obtaining the permission of Ausurus or EMR.

Commenting on the ruling, a spokesperson for EMR said it had been a very difficult process for EMR, particularly as a degree of integration had already occurred prior to the commencement of the CMA enquiry.

They added: ‘EMR has endeavoured at all times to comply fully with the terms of the initial enforcement order. The nature of the two alleged infractions that led to this fine are quite technical in nature and entirely inadvertent. When they were brought to the attention of EMR by the CMA, immediate remedial action was taken. Whilst naturally disappointed with the outcome of the CMA enquiry, EMR remains committed to complying fully with the requirements of the CMA.”

In response to the merger plans, CMA ordered EMR to sell five facilities acquired from MWR as it was concerned prices might worsen for suppliers and customers. It said the merger would harm the choices available to suppliers that provide scrap metal to be shredded in England.

Car manufacturers selling large volumes of scrap metal through tendered contracts would also be at a serious disadvantage, it ruled. EMR is currently the largest recycler of scrap metal in the UK while MWR was the fourth largest.

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