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EMR sells sites to new owner after competition row

The UK’s largest scrap metal recycler EMR has sold most of the M&W business that it bought last year to Recycling Lives.

This followed an intervention by the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA), which said EMR’s takeover of M&W would have led to a worse deal for customers.

EMR will keep the M&W sites at Edmonton and Neasden in London but Recycling Lives will take those elsewhere.

The deal last year saw the largest scrap firm buy the fourth largest. The CMA said this would “harm the choices available” to scrap metal suppliers in the south-east of England, as well as car manufacturers that sell large volumes of scrap metal through tendered contracts in the West Midlands and the north-east.

CMA inquiry chair Lesley Ainsworth said at the time: “The evidence shows that EMR’s purchase of M&W is likely to harm competition in a number of areas, and there is a material risk that prices for some suppliers and customers could worsen.”

The CMA fined EMR and its parent company £150,000 each in December because it had directed M&W customers to make payments into parent company Ausurus’s bank accounts, which constituted unauthorised integration, and failed to give the M&W managing director a “clear delegation of authority to take decisions without consulting, or obtaining the permission of, Ausurus or EMR”.

An EMR statement said: “In compliance with the commitments it gave to the CMA, EMR has entered into an agreement to sell M&W to Recycling Lives, other than that part of the M&W business based in London.”

It added: “We believe that M&W will continue to thrive under the ownership of Recycling Lives and provide a secure future for M&W’s employees. We thank the M&W employees for their patience and understanding through the divestment process, and on closing we will be delighted to welcome to the EMR Group those M&W employees based at the London sites.”

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