§ Mr. Freud
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he is satisfied with existing competition in the condom market; what is the current market share of the major producers; how many recent requests he has had to refer this situation to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Howard
The supply of contraceptive sheaths was referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission for investigation in 1972 and 1981. The MMC concluded in its second report that a monopoly situation existed in favour of LRC Products Ltd. (now the London International Group) by virtue of the company's United Kingdom market share, estimated at between 90 and 95 per cent. As a result, LRC Products Ltd. gave undertakings in 1983 to limit price increases by relation to an index of its costs. These undertakings, which are still in force, are being closely monitored by the Director General of Fair Trading.
The Director General of Fair Trading has powers under the Fair Trading Act 1973 to make a further reference to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission if he considers it necessary.