Cartels for building materials as construction foundations for building large corporations

Nya Fest Session 7: Levels of Cartelization: Scandinavian Perspectives on the Role Cartelization in Business Development organized by Kasper Hage Stjern


Malin Dahlström


This paper follows the Swedish construction group Cementa/Skanska and show how the company has grown and increased their market power through cartels on the domestic market and international agreements and collaborations. In this paper we will show how Skånska Cement, that was the original company, built the company and increased the market shares during the 1900th century especially for products further up in the product chain. The strategy of the company was for a long time to increase the use of cement by increasing and expanding the use of concrete products. In the 1970s the compa-ny dominated the Swedish market for several building materials and when the main company merged with the competing cement company, Gullhögen, it had reached monopoly for several products.

In the paper we follow how different building materials were integrated into the company’s scope and how the company collaborated with companies in other countries in different ways to restrict the competition. One of the main strategies that Skånska Cement used to grow their company with, was to set up affiliated companies for new products. In the affiliated companies’ foreign owners (that owned the patent or had developed the product) became co-owners. The affiliated companies were often set up so that they produced and sold one product, and in connection to the set up the compa-nies set up cartel agreements for their domestic markets and for the markets that they sold the prod-uct on. In this way the product-company also became the core for the cartelization of the product. The companies that co-owned the product-company could also link the restriction of competition to other markets and cartels that they were engaged in. With a diversity of products, the large companies could make sure that their products were favoured on the construction sites and in the large purchase programmes. Collaboration was a clear strategy for the growth and formation of the cement group, but the scale, scope, content and boarder of the cooperation varied.

In the paper material from different companies that produced building materials and were connected to the Skånska Cement (later Cementa) and Skånska Cementgjuteriet (later Skanska) will be used to study the introduction and the development of the products and the company on the Swedish market. The material is available in archives in Sweden: Regional State Archives in Lund and Centre for Busi-ness History. Some products that will be investigated and followed in the paper are: eternit (asbestos cement), plasterboards, sanitation goods, and Siporex, (lightweight concrete).


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