Interim measures in Spectron/LME competition dispute

OFT direction (21 pages, PDF) to the London Metal Exchange to postpone the extension of trading hours on the LME Select electronic trading platform whilst the OFT investigates LME Select's compliance with Article 82. The OFT's investigation follows complaints about alleged predatory and discriminatory pricing by the LME, in particular the possible margin squeeze arising from charging the same fee for matching and processing an LME Select trade as for the core LME trade processing service supplied to users of other trading platforms such as Spectron's (and for telephone trades). The OFT has given itself another six months to decide whether to issue a statement of objections.

These interim measures were considered necessary to prevent the irreparable exclusion of the Spectron's competing metal trading platform from the market, as Spectron has lost almost all demand from trading during European daytime hours and is now dependent on trading during Asian daytime hours.

Update, 2 March 2006: OFT statement about a Spectron statement, further muddying the waters.

Update, 27 April 2006: LME has challenged the direction in the Competition Appeal Tribunal: see summary of appeal (2 pages, PDF) and other case documents.

Update, 15 May 2006: OFT lifts the interim measures direction on the basis of new evidence (the nature of which is not disclosed).

Filed under Article 82, OFT.

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