Part 2 Consents
To settle FTC charges, LaFarge, Corp. agreed to restructure its agreement to purchase certain assets of Holnam, Inc. LaFarge and Holnam are two of five competitors in the portland cement market in the Puget Sound area. In February 1998, LaFarge and Holnam signed a letter of intent detailing an agreement under which LaFarge would buy Holnam's Seattle cement plant, cement distribution terminal in Vancouver, Washington, a rock quarry in Twin Rivers, Washington, and related assets. The FTC alleged that a provision of the sales agreement between LaFarge and Holnam would have imposed a penalty on LaFarge if it produced quantities of cement in excess of 85 percent of the Holnam plant's capacity. According to the FTC, this provision would encourage LaFarge to restrict the output of cement at the Seattle plant to avoid the production penalty and would prevent an increase in supply and a reduction in price for cement in the Puget Sound area. To restore competition, LaFarge and Holnam agreed to drop the production penalty clause.